Working with older people

"Remember we are all growing older! Our need for affection, for personal dignity and for acceptance by others increases rather than diminishes with the passing of the years. Try always to be sensitive to this in your visiting." (An extract from the Pastoral Visitor's Notes)

Extract from letter received from a Pastoral Visitor

"I am looking at ways in which the church can offer continued care and concern for its members who are no longer so mentally active, or have become increasingly confused. At present I have three ladies on my list who fall into this category, and experience seems to suggest that very often these people are forgotten about, or receive less and less visitors as their condition progresses, basically because visitors are unsure of what to expect and how best to respond.

I believe we need to encourage people to keep visiting and therefore, we need to be able to offer guidelines to our pastoral visitors to help them.

One lady I visit said to me "Thank you for coming - it's nice to see someone who remembers when things were normal." I believe that pastoral visitors, indeed all of us in the church, do hold a special key, in this respect, because so often we may be the only ones who knew that person before they became muddled or confused, and before they were admitted to residential or nursing homes. No matter how good, or how high the level of care is in these homes, it seems to be mainly directed at the physical needs of residents. Staff, if they do have time to talk, are not familiar with the past lives of those they care for, and residents, by that point, probably cannot tell them. We, on the other hand, may well remember details of their hobbies, families, homes, etc., and the part they played in church life and can sometimes cue their long-term memory."


Methodist Homes

Methodist Homes have produced a variety of information and resources about caring for the elderly. They have years of experience in this field and are a source of much useful information. Contact them at Methodist Homes, Epworth House, Stuart Street, Derby DE1 2EQ.
Tel: 01332 296200

'Second Wind' - spirituality and the second half of life
 - a resource for small groups, by Martin Wray - cost £6.50 (inc P&P)  Available from MHA at above address.

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