There are plenty of problems and issues to go around these days. From pandemics to Grandparents raising Grandchildren, to people who are caretakers for their parents. It can be overwhelming to say the least.
I have been working with Sarah Care in Melbourne for a few years now, and I understand better then most just what it’s like to care for people with cognitive issues.
When you work with dementia patients you can’t help but observe their mental state and physical characteristics. After a while, it becomes easier to recognize the facial signs of the brain decline. Recently, I was sitting in a restaurant when I looked up saw a woman walking in my direction. I could tell right away that she was suffering with dementia. I she came nearer, I could see her daughter holding onto her from behind.
I stopped her and mentioned how nice she looked, told her I thought it was great to see her. I love your outfit..she smiles and says thank you. Her daughter looks at me and says does she know you? I said no I just want you to know I love you. She was stunned for a moment but then she realized I understood what stress she was under and said thank you.
I’m telling you this story because we all know someone with a special needs parent or child. They often feel isolated. Their social network has disappeared. People are uncomfortable with how the behaviour changes their friend and so they don’t get invited to bridge or other activities anymore. The family caring for them is trapped by the parents new needs and often give up their social activities too. On top of that, there is often the financial burden that is incurred when the caretaker can not longer leave their loved one alone, and has to cut back their hours, or leave the workforce all together.
I try to share bits of love and kindness wherever I may be. I believe it is valuable to a compassionate community. If you know a family in this situation, can you make a little room in your heart to check in with them, perhaps even invite them out for a coffee, or bring them a snack? I bet it would mean the world to them.