By: Sheila Kun RN, BA, BSN, MS
Last week we discussed the fourth Divine Secret: Allow for Future Productivity. This is an abstract from The Divine Secrets of the Dwindling Sisterhood, a chapter of The Overwhelmed Woman’s Guide to … Caring for Aging Parents by Julie-Allyson Ieron. It might have taken someone a year to process the grief before he/she could move on. When they are ready to be reintegrated into family life and take on meaningful tasks, some of the activities you will see might begin with doing small tasks for the family. In short, let the seniors move at their own pace; allow time for them to gradually find new tasks or hobbies to occupy their time into more productive work.
This week the Divine Secret is: Locate New, Old Friends.
This secret is also about reintegrating into life. The previous secret was about finding meaningful service. It can be with long-time friends who close ranks to fill gaps left by mutual loved ones gone. Or it can be with newfound friends who share a generic camaraderie of loss.
One of my best friends’ mom is in an assisted living facility. It was her choice to move to the assisted living facility and not staying with her daughter. Surprisingly, mom was happy with her choice; she found new friends of the same culture; she became the leader in that community for day excursions and she enjoyed sharing with her friends the special treats that her daughter brought. She found a sense of belonging in that facility enjoying memories of the good old days in Asia.
“There is nothing like old friends”, as suggested by psychologist Jennifer Thomas. She recommended adult children help seniors to connect with old friends. “Get them in touch with old friends who remember their shared history. They will remember your parents and tell old stories together.” This is so true in my situation. Since we are now in the “7 Up Club” (seventy years and older, a message from an old friend or high school alumni is so meaningful. I came from a small town – Macau, and my high school classmates are now all over the world; many are in North America. We are able to connect with each other by Facebook and WhatsApp. We have a formal email address list, updated every year by one of the alumni in Hong Kong. When the husband of one of my high school classmates passed away in San Francisco, the support she got from her high school friends meant so much to her. This is a good example of what Jennifer Thomas said: there is nothing like old friends!
Your homework from the Care Ministry this week: try to connect with an old friend and renew the relationship.
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