As often as we write about the challenges of caregiving, it is certainly good to remember to walk in our loved one's shoes as well. This you tube video, Love of a Father helped me to do just that.
I consider myself extremely blessed to have my parents with me at 83 and 89. For the most part their health and minds remain strong. Their passion for life and love for their family continue to inspire me, yet they have certainly changed over the years, just as I have. Mom now needs a walker and Dad just can't walk as long as he used to or his legs will give out.
Earlier this week I read, Michael Parkinson recalls his mother's final months in a care home and appeals to the NHS for dignity for the elderly. In it, Sir Michael Parkinson was making an appeal to offer better care and dignity for the elderly. He was quoted as saying:
"The elderly will never be treated with the dignity they deserve until society learns to celebrate old age." Sir Michael, a chat-show host was appointed as the NHS Dignity Ambassador to monitor not only health care in London, but particularly elderly care in the hospitals. In an article announcing his appointment a year ago, Minister Ivan Lewis said this about the campaign, "I want NHS and social care services to apply a simple test - if it wouldn't be good enough for my mum and dad, why should it be good enough for someone else's?" Isn't that all we ever ask, to treat others the way we would like to be treated?
I heartily agree with Sir Michael that society must learn to celebrate old age. Those providing senior care know full well that this is not a throw away society, but a group of delightful individuals with stories to tell, love to give and needs to be fulfilled.
Growing up, my parents offered senior assistance to keep my grandmother independent by helping her around her home. We also visited her every Sunday as a family and I recall wishing occasionally that we didn't have to. However, I'm so glad we did as those memories stay with me today and I know that was where I first learned to respect the elderly and celebrate old age. My grandmother loved to talk and I loved to listen to her because her stories were interesting and often funny. I did not see her wrinkles, her stooped back or her ever increasing heart disease that got worse with age, all I saw was her love for life and the sparkle in her eyes when she spoke.
What led you to caregiving and senior help? Do you know of any other dignity ambassadors? Please leave your comments below and don't forget to sign up or the EldercareABCblog RSS Feed.