Monday, December 8, 2008

Singing At The Nursing Home

Stumble Upon Toolbar

**The following contains Smockity opinions.

Today the kids and I met with some other members of our homeschool group to sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home.

I was choking back tears most of the time, so I didn't actually do very much singing. Why the tears?

Because first of all, children singing, for some reason have always made me teary eyed. Even before I had my own children, that little ring tailed tooter in my third grade class who had regularly scheduled meetings with the principal to discuss "behavior modification plans" would melt my heart during the singing portion of the PTA program.

Add to that, children singing the words to Away In A Manger.

Then, multiply that emotion by 15 when you toss in wrinkly 96 year old faces, smiling and waving from their beds and wheelchairs, and I am pretty much a big ol' bawl baby.

When I looked at those frail gray haired ladies and gentlemen and then back again at my own children, I thought about how those adults were once just like my children. They most likely sang and laughed and skipped and had nary a thought of what life would be like in a nursing home.

I wondered if they had grown up and cared for their own children years ago, wiping their messy faces and changing their diapers and cooling their feverish brows during sickness.

Where were those children now? These aging and dying adults need someone to wipe their messes and prepare their food and care for their needs. They rely on paid help to do these things.

I saw a sign above one lady's bed written in red marker. "Make sure her feet are elevated after turning."

There is apparently no one who knows her or loves her well enough to care for her and remember that her feet need special treatment, so a sign must be placed there to remind her caretakers.

It made me sad to think of those that were once vibrant and lively, now forgotten and dependent on employees to carry out their paid tasks.

I thought of how I had researched Ralph Moody, author of the Little Britches series, to find out more about his life. I read that when the end of his days approached, he moved in with his baby sister, Elizabeth, (born in the second book) who cared for him until his death.

That is how it should be, I think. Family caring for one another until the end.

I know there are rare exceptions, folks with no living relatives or relatives who are physically unable to give care, but I think for the most part there is an ugly trend to dispose of our elderly in institutions where we can forget about their needs.

This ought not be the case for Christians.

I imagine it would be a difficult trial to provide daily care for an elderly relative, but I don't think difficulty is a valid reason for shirking responsibility.

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." I Timothy 5:8


Kim said...

We too have made regular visits to our local nursing home and I have shared your sentiments on more than one occasion. I feel very strongly about this and it is interesting how often this opinion is met with adversity.

I am sure that it is likely one of the most overwhelming burdens to face when caring for an elderly parent or loved one, but the bible just doesn't make concessions for things that are overwhelming burdens ... except to say that His grace is sufficient.

My kids have been told from the get-go. I wipe your bottom ... you wipe mine ;) That IS how it should be.


Lainie said...

Hey Connie,

My heart aches with yours and this has been my observation...

Very generally speaking, in America today, many parents drop their children off at daycare for 6-10 hours a day for the first 5-6 years of life and leave their care to strangers.

Is it any wonder that children leave the care of their aging parents during their last 5-6 years of life to strangers?

I was a latchkey kid and that experience and the fact that I came to know Jesus and His Word is what made my husband and I commit

(no matter how financially difficult--and it has been very difficult at times)

to keep me as a stay-at-home mom teaching, training and loving on our children.

I love that there is movement and trend towards being a SAHM. When I had our first child people thought I was crazy to stay home.

It seems now there are more and more moms doing it and with heads raised up not apologizing for staying home.

Should the Lord tarry, I hope that as these children grew up they will be the ones to then care for their aging parents since sacrificial care was modeled for them.

Lainie said...

EDIT to comment above---

I realized after I posted that comment that I know there are many women that would love to be home with their kids but because of circumstances outside of their control cannot be and I wanted to make sure that you knew there was no judgment in my comment.

I know many moms that have to work because they are single moms, widows or have husbands that are disabled, etc...

In the area I live in, I see and know a lot of women that choose to send their kids to daycare so they can shop the whole day and not be bothered.

That is where the comment was coming from not towards moms that have no choice but to work outside the home.

Just wanted to clarify and I hope no one's feelings were hurt.

Valerie said...

I agree in theory. My grandparents lived in different states than their children and REFUSED to move. My grandparents lived independently as long as they could and then refused, much to everyones dismay, to be taken in by their children.

A nursing home was a good choice for a stubborn grandfather who couldn't clean up after himself and wouldn't move to a different town.

I agree Nursing Homes are often sad places. My MIL has told us several times she does NOT want to live with her children. I don't know what will happen when the day comes and she can't take care of herself. I pray it doesn't happen.

On the other hand, my dh's grandmother recently passed away after being in and out of the hospital. She refused nursing home care. She left the hospital after almost dying and went back to living alone. (But, her dd lived next door.) She went shopping and to a music show the night before they found her in her garden -- she passed away doing what she loved.

I guess the moral of the story is to live close to relatives so you can take care of them. Easier said than done often times.

But, I am glad to know I am not the only one who gets all choked up over children singing!!

Love your blog!!

watchthesky said...

Totally with you on this. So true.
And as for the crying... I'm with you on that too. :)

Lockwoods said...

So sad and so true!
Our children always "fight" over who mommy and daddy will go live with when we are old.
I told them the other day that since we are about to have our
12th, we'll just live with one per month. :) They thought that was a great idea.

New Mom said...

My grandpa passed away this past Wednesday from Lou Gherig's disease. We were really thankful that his suffering was over, especially because we were being faced with the difficult decision to place him in a rest home. My mom had always promised him that she would never do that and to even consider it was a desperate act. However, when you are dealing with a completely paralyzed man, sometimes having 24 hour care without outside help is just impossible. While his case is probably the exception and not the rule, I'm sure that some of the families of the folks in that home may have faced similar circumstances. We are so thankful that my grandpa died surrounded by his loved ones instead of in a rest home. It had almost come to that.

Holly said...

I so agree, Connie, and share your sadness over the millions of elderly who have no one to care for them. I've seen both sides of the equation - I've worked in nursing homes and seen the sad old ones who had kids who wouldn't come to see them. Some were truly abandoned by their families, and some had abandoned their families in earlier days and now had no one. The really amazing thing is that God's love can overcome all of these things and can bring about forgiveness even when it is undeserved according to our human understanding.

I know this, too...because my family and I moved across the country to live near grouchy old parents who refused to move to live near their kids. My life is profoundly affected EVERY day, and God has proved Himself to be ENOUGH. He has brought forgiveness, and healing, and many excellent lessons for my children...such as loving and caring for people who really aren't that easy to love and care for.

We have no regrets. God called, and we did our best to follow Him.

Zombiemommy said...

Just this morning in my time with God, the thought crossed my mind again, should I move closer to my parents? My sister and I live 5 hours away (we live only 2 miles apart). I think that if I want my children to live near me when they get older, so I can see my grandchildren, then I need to get closer to my family first so they can see the benefit.
I don't know what God has called us yet to do, but I may put out the fleece soon.

Everytime we go to the Nursing home, I say to myself, I need to come back more often!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Swidget 1.0 6

Web Statistics