SAINT JENNIFER FOUNDATION Ubi caritas, ibi vita

IS IT IMPORTANT TO CARE FOR OUR ELDERS?

IS IT IMPORTANT TO CARE FOR OUR ELDERS?


My own parents are aging, I increasingly feel a sense of responsibility to care for them. My father and mother have worked tirelessly to mouldme the Louis Aloysius I am today, religious, morally upright, Educated from good learning institutions some not even in Uganda, full of opportunities, comfort and privilege, extra. Caretaking for many at Saint Jennifer Foundation Aiding the Elderly (SJEFATE) our beloved Elderly age, it is imperative that as their children we return the favour of caring and loving for them. I’m sure this will resonate with many of you as you see your own loved ones age in front of you.Some of the reasons why I think they deserve the best from us are:


They are our mothers and fathers. Our first teachers, They teach how to love, how to care, how to give, how to forgive, how to accept, and most of all they are our backbone of support. Without their endless sacrifice during our early years, we wouldn’t be capable of what we are today. We need to care for our elders because they deserve to be cared for. Respect and care for our elders starts with our parents, our first teachers “mwanamugyimu avaaku Ngozi”meaning “we are a sourced from our parents.”

Wisdom. Our elders have more knowledge and wisdom than any one of us. We have a saying that “obukadde magezi meaning “Old is Gold” Their experiences through the turbulence of storms that life takes them through yield great wisdom. They’ve come so far and they’ve learned so much, we have a responsibility to learn from that wisdom. So take the time to listen to what they have to say.Job 12:12 “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.”

Blessing. The Bible has many stories of successful people who got blessed by elderly people or parents. Isaac, blessed Jacob at 97. (Genesis 32:24-28) Before he died at the age of 147, Jacob summoned enough strength to bless each of his 12 sons. Let us care fore elderly to get blessing and favours from the elderly.


Morals, values, principles. Our elders have either acquired, created or have been brought up with a set of morals, values and/or principles in their life. They may not apply to our own but the least we can do is see how those values impacted their lives. We can learn a thing or two from adopting those values. Learn the right and wrong. Have the insight into a set of rules that we can outline for ourselves to follow and live by. Our elders would want the best for us and they would be more than willing to tell us what set of rules and guidelines have made them successful and hopefully, peaceful.


Respect, “Atatya bakulu affamangu” meaning “days are numbered for one whodisrespects the elderly”
1 Timothy 5:1 “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers.”
1Leviticus 19:32 “Rise in the presence of the aged and honour the elderly face-to-face.Fear your God. I am the LORD”.
Job 32:4 “Because Elihu was the youngest one there, he had waited until everyone finished speaking.”


The Unconditional love. No matter what you do in life, who you become, where you live, who you are with —our elders will always love us unconditionally. Sure they might be disappointed in you or be upset with you or me from time to time but at the end of the day we are still their little ones. This kind of unconditional love is hard to find anywhere else in this universe. The mere presence of our elders gives us hope and strength to keep calm and carry on.

Sacrifice. They worked toothand nail for you and me, that’s why Once we, as children, come into the picture our elders sacrifice much of their life to see to it that we are well and happy. They make sure to provide us with all the comforts (regardless whether they had or have enough wealth or not). They sacrifice their own lives, needs and likes to see a smile on our faces. They look to us in times of failure or success to remind themselves what they are fighting for everyday.


Experience. “The old broom knows every corner of the house” For this simple reason, we must appreciate them. We may or may not know of all the ups and downs they’ve faced in life but they’ve definitely gained experience that is worth respecting and learning from. All we are going through politically, socially, economically they have seen them before. “History repeats its self”, elders may hide much pain from us because they don’t want us to feel the pain, the least we can do is appreciate them for all that they’ve gone through—gained and lost—and learn from their insight into situations and circumstances.I have learned a lot from elderly Christians. Sometimes all you want to hear is how God has worked in someone’s life and their different experiences.Old aged people have been through many different hardship experiences that will help your earthly and Spiritual/ faithwalk. They have made mistakes and they will help guide you and me so we don’t make the same mistakes. No matter what age.Proverbs 20:29“The glory of the young is their strength; the grey hair of experience is the splendour of the old.”


History and heritage. our grandparents lived under the traditional leaders’ Rule and colonial rule (even before independence of 1962). They preserved the importance of our tribe, culture, our Ethnicity even within the family and community. The traditions, rituals, languages, new clothes for every festival, food, wedding festivities etc., are unique to that heritage. This heritage and history brings a sense of belongingness to all of us. Most importantly, it brings us a sense of identity of our past and the responsibility we have to stay true to our origins for future generations.“We are Africa, that is why they call us Africans”, without us Africa would be a myth. This heritage and history is best preserved through our elders. We have much to learn from them with regards to our heritage, culture, traditions, and norms to be proud of our past.


They are nearing their end and their future is uncertain. Put yourself in the shoes of an elderly person. When you know you are becoming fragile and your body is failing you, it’s difficult to cope with the uncertainty of the future—mentally and physically. Our elders may have many things on their mind but they may not be able to express them. Our responsibility comes in to give them the support they need to help them live the rest of their lives peacefully. No one wants their last days to be filled with regret and disappointment. So take charge of being that love and light, be with them in their last days.


we are human beings and it is the right thing to do. Humanity plays a crucial role in taking care of our elders. After all, “What we are they where, and what they are we shall be”we’re going to be elderly people some day too.The truth is we need our elders and we cannot live without them. There comes a day when they can’t live without us. They need our support just as much as they gave us theirs when we didn’t even ask for it. This brings out the humanity within us. This expression of humanity makes us human. When we act to care for our elders, our children will see that with respect and will act to care for us someday…at least we can hope they will.

Benjamin Franklin once said
“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young”.
Proverbs 16:31 “Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is obtained by following a righteous path.”

So if you have some free time:
*Go volunteer at a Nursing home like SJEFATE.
*Re-connect with your grand parents. Give them some room in your day today life.
*Talk to your uncles and aunts, see how they are doing.
*If you have elders at home, listen to them. Talk to them. Spend some quality time with them. They would be more than happy.
*Help an elderly man or a woman on the street. Say hi to them or simply smile at them with respect.
*if you don’t have time then send him or her to an Elderly home like Bedside Nursing home, visit them weekly.
*Donate, support and sponsor one or twothe vulnerable Elderlies in who are homeless.

You will be glad you did.

 

The writer is an administrator at
Saint Jennifer Foundation Aiding the Elderly (SJEFATE)
Department of Bedside Nursing and Caretaking services.
www.saintjenniferfoundation.org

 

WE ARE ALL CARETAKERS.

WE ARE ALL CARETAKERS.


Who is a caretaker? A caretaker is any person who may interact with a patient (or the patient's family) while the patient has any needs or concerns. Anyone!!!! Yes, Anyone. Traditionally, we think of caretakers as nurses and doctors. However, in the office, clinic or hospital setting, every person with whom a patient may have contact is a caretaker. It does not matter what we do-security, pharmacy, Bedside nurse, housekeeping, reception clerk-if we have contact with patients, we are caregivers. How can this be? We have the ability to impact a patient. We can set the tone for the whole patient encounter. We may need to touch a frightened patient, a naked patient, or a lost patient. Therefore, we are caretakers. No one is exempt. To our patients, we are all caretakers. For example, I was once in some hospital where a bewildered and perplexed Elderly inpatient with a black jacket, slipped past the nurse's station and began to wander around the hospital. She wandered through radiology, past the cafeteria, and through the vestibule. She passed at least fifty hospital employees, including doctors, nurses, techs, everyone. No one recognized her (if one did then just ignored her), so no one said anything. Finally, on her way out to the parking deck, a volunteer asked her if she needed help. The patient was slow to respond, so the volunteer went close to her, and saw her patient scrub with her room number. They got back just as the elopement alert was being given. That volunteer may have saved the patient's life, and she certainly saved someone's job. No one else who she wandered past noticed her at all. We can almost hear all those caretakers saying, "Not my patient, not my job." But this isn't true. We are all caretakers / caregivers, for each and every patient. We, as caretakers, have a unique responsibility in this world. We have the privilege of helping people who need help the most. As caretakers, we are all in this thing called "healthcare" together. At Bedside Nursing and Caretaking Services, we minimize the distinctions between doctors, nurses, technicians, assistants, etc., because we are all caretakers. Every one of us is in the health-caring profession. After all, our goal is all the same: Provide excellent care, the best we can provide, for each and every patient. When we love our job, and love our patients, providing excellent care is a lot easier. "Why make a big deal out of it?" someone might say, "It's nothing special. Just go in, slap a little healthcare on them, get the job done, and get out. Nobody loves me, why should I love them back?” This type of thinking is toxic (this is common in our hospitals and health facilities in Africa). This thinking is toxic because healthcare is very special and exceptional. In NO other job are we given instant intimacy with another person. We are exposed to hurt, sick, dying, unhappy people all the time. And all of them, silently or loudly, call for our help. The amazing thing is, we can help. We can make a huge difference in another person's life. We may not cure their cancer, or bring their baby back to life, or reverse their Alzheimer's and Dementia. However, we can touch them, comfort them, and make a difference. With just a little love, we can make their suffering more tolerable. And, we will be happier for it.

“MY PATIENT IS MY HEART”


The writer is an administrator at
BEDSIDE NURSING AND CARETAKING SERVICES.

P.O. Box 10046 Kampala Uganda.

+256777199060

www.saintjenniferfoundation.org.

Bedside12@gmail.com.

 

THE ELDERLY


    THE ELDERLY
By Namugera Louis Aloysius


Medical skills have added years to human life but have done little to make those extra years pleasant or profitable. Today man may live to be ninety who a generation ago might have died in life of pneumonia, cancer, cardiac complication, anemia or diabetes or any aliments that can now be cured or controlled. But nothing so far has been found to forestall the slackening of muscles, stiffening of the joints, slowing of vital processes, dulling of the senses. There must come one sad day then man is forced to face the grim fact that old age is upon him, and then he needs help as he has never needed before. The old, like the young, have emotional needs that must be met if life is to be happy and complete. They need a sense of security, a feeling of being wanted and loved, a conviction that they are accomplishing something, and the assurance of acceptance in a group.
Does a list of emotional needs sound familiar? Yes, it should, for these are the needs of the Infants, Children, Adolescents, and Adults. The difference is that each day’s development in the life of a child brings him closer to maturity when he can make an effort in his own behalf to find his satisfactions. The difference is that a normal, healthy adult can control his environment and direct his behavior towards the satisfaction of his needs. But time is carrying the aged person farther from the ability to help himself. Every day, strength, skills, abilities, are slipping away from him.he needs help.There is no reason today in the twenty first century in our country Uganda why an old person should not be adequately if not elegantly cared for so far as food, proper healthcare and shelter are concerned. The elderly must get assistance in hospitals, clinics, public transportations, banks and many others whether they have funds or not for their own. But the other basic needs of the aged are not so adequately met. a normal adult can satisfy his or her yearning for affection through marital and family relationships, but the aged person has often lived his marriage mate and worn out his welcome in the family group. The healthy adult satisfies his or her need for achievement through his or her job or through contribution to a smoothly running of the home life, but the old person may have been forcibly retired from his employment, or, if not, he must certain face the realization that he is no longer able to accomplish what he could ten or twenty years earlier. Thrown into competition with younger, faster, more skillful workers, or even in comparison with his or her own previous accomplishments, the old person loses all felling of satisfactory achievements. He may grow depressed by a sense of his or her feeling of failure and bitterly blame his family or her erstwhile employer for lack of appreciation of one’s years of experience and service. Whichever reaction accords with one’s temperament, he or she is unhappy.
The whole situation is made more grievous for the elderly by the simultaneous loss of a feeling of acceptance in a group. The normal adult satisfies that need through contacts with fellow workers, through clubs or social, through neighbor activities. But the old person has no job, he cannot keep up with the charging interests and chatter of young people, and he is probably unable to travel far enough to visit his surviving contemporaries. If the old person still living with relatives there may well be added problems for him and for the family with whom he lives. As an elderly person’s strength fails he/she may lose his concern for personal tidiness. With weakening sphincter muscles, he may become incontinent. He may avoid the “nuisance” of bathing, clings to familiar soiled clothing; spill his or her food as he/she eats. Not too sure of his place in the group, he is easily offended if these matters are mentioned. Unable because of increasing physical limitation to grasp new ideas or keep abreast of current events, he talks endlessly of the past, telling and retelling tales of his own early years in apathetic efforts to bolster his sense of achievement, and he is hurt if he is interrupted. With the slowing of circulation, the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply, so that the thinking is slower, memory is impaired, judgment is poor. The oldster resents being supervised, but often he cannot safely be left alone. All too frequently the active, younger members of the family are irked by the burden and show it.
Caregiver moves should make pretty certain that the old person actually does have the financial aid. This should be sufficient to meet minimal needs for board and lodging and medical care. Whatever the sources of income, whether help from relatives, or a grant from Elderly Organizations like SJEFATE, it is to be hoped that is graciously, not grudgingly. The limited funds available to the aged person may force a reduction in his standard of living less money for a bottle of beer, fewer notes to contribute to his church, less to offer his grandson in payment for toys.
It is hard to be a dependant after years of taking care of oneself. It is hard not to be able to purchase gifts for the grandchildren, or make donations to the community/church chest. The help is available, and it can be provided sympathetically. It may be rather more difficult for the worker to arrange for the satisfaction of the need for affection. Love cannot be turned on like a stream from a faucet, and there is no reasonable facsimile. The failing of the aged person’s physical and mental faculties may make him less lovable, and all too often will react on his disposition, thus adding to the problem.


To be continued....

 

The writer is the founder of SJEFATE.

Saint Jennifer Foundation Aiding the Elderly (SJEFATE) is here to help older persons all over East Africa.   +25677199060
www.saintjenniferfoundation.org

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