Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What do they think?

What goes through the minds of the people in nursing homes at this time of year? Last week the sweet little Cub Scout pack that my son belongs to made a bunch of Christmas cards for the residents of a local nursing home. Last night we went to sing Christmas carols and deliver them. This is always a very hard thing for me because I feel such terrible sadness for the residents of these places. I don't feel sad because they are treated poorly; for in this home I don't think they are. Most of them just looked so very worn and lonely.


What must it feel like to be at the end of your life, surrounded by strangers? It is hard to comprehend. Does our singing and card-giving minister to them? My heart ached as we left there. Do they receive visitors mainly during the Christmas season? How does this make them feel?


There was one woman that came out to her door and stood and sang with us. I brought my ever-ready-with-a-hug-and-a-smile daughter, Elizabeth, to greet her. She gave her a big hug and just grinned like crazy at her and told her "Merry Christmas." It was all I could do not to cry. I am greatly moved by the aged because I think in our society we hugely undervalue them. Many of these people were not obviously needy - some were not bedridden and helpless. I wonder where their families are. I cannot blame a family that places their family in the care of a nurse when they are unable to care for them--I understand that. But what about those who don't require that kind of care? Are they unwilling to "burden" their family?


Isn't caring for those that cared for you what families are for?


I cannot answer for all the decisions that people make, but I *so* desparately hope that I will be able to offer care to any of my family members that may need it. Those kinds of places are there for a reason, and I do not say we should not have them. However, I never never want to have to use them.

I hope the mile of boys and families blessed someone in the home we visited. I hope the songs brightened their night. I hope I can find a way to minister to them at some other time of year. Do any of you do this and if so, how? I would like to find a way to make their day a bit brighter, and help my children see the beauty in blessing others.


Mariel said...

....I also wondered Mama. That's why I smiled and waved at every single one. I also thought of Gramma Leona and our talk about her. I wondered if they only think we're doing this because it's around Christmastime. They are undervalued and I certainly do not want MY dear ones to feel like that. I saw that lady and Wibbis; it was very special.

Thanks for this.

I love you! (So VERY much! I hope you know that. (+: )

Your loving daughter,


P.S. I answered your tag! Thank you for it!

JenIG said...

the times that my family has visited retirement homes always blessed us and saddened us. i am glad your family was able to go. your children are so lovely -- i'm you blessed many.

love you and miss you!

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts here, my friend. My family has cared for both my own and my husband's mother through their final illnesses. Both women died in our home, which might sound awful but is, really and truly, a blessing for everyone involved. Home, surrounded by those who love them and have been tenderly caring for them. OTOH, one of my husband's grandmother's is 103 and her children have placed her in a nursing home. Her only real care "need" is help with bathroom related things. This decision was made, of course, by the children, and did not involve any of the grandchildren. It really is sad, especially at Christmas because she knows that she will spend Christmas day in the home. It makes her cry when she tells us about it, but our hands are tied as far as making decisions about her care.

Your children visiting, I am sure, was a blessing to these folks. They LOVE seeing young people!! However, everyone thinks to visit these places at holiday time and not during the rest of the year. A really great thing would be if the cub scout troup went once a month, taking cheery cards or pictures. Instead of singing Christmas carols, they could sing some old-time favorites. You Are My Sunshine. Down in the Valley. Even Rock of Ages, or The Old Rugged Cross (most facilities don't ban hymns!). Your own family might inquire at the desk about a resident with no family who visits regularly and adopt them as your own, stopping in for visits as you can.