Monday, May 14, 2012

A second infancy- Do we cheat our children by not caring for our elderly?

     Before I even begin this let me say I know there are a myriad of reasons that some elderly treasures are unable to be cared for at home. I am in no way passing judgement on anyone for their decisions. Right for you or wrong for you it is a personal decision.

     I have a great aunt who is 84. She helped my mother in many ways as a child from sitting for her, to helping with bills, buying school clothes and supplies and of course "helped" by spoiling me rotten. Oh how we pay for our youth in our children. I am currently experiencing the "bad guy" complex with Grace.

     She had no children and did not marry until she was 71! Her husband passed a couple of years back and she is alone now.  She is remarkably healthy and able at her age. I truly believe it is due to her taking care of both of her parents as they aged. The bible clearly states:

Eph 6:2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (3)That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

     I remember her taking care of my papaw and how she loved him. He passed when I was five so that should tell you what an imprint that kind of care makes on a child. A while ago she fell while milling around outside and could not get herself up. It took her hours to drag herself to a place where she could pull herself up and get inside. The feeling that overcame me when she told me what had happened I don't have words for. It came crashing down on me that the woman I'd seen be so strong and physically lift a grown man to care for him was becoming as feeble as he was then.

     I began to think about what will happen when she is unable to care for herself. She has always said she wanted to go to a nursing home. The thought of the woman who would come running at every whim being put in the hands of another devastates me. I have made it clear that IF I have any say she will be staying with us PERIOD. The bible declares:

1Ti_5:8But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

     Again I am not saying that it is right for everyone to care for their elderly family in home. Each situation is different and requires much consideration. But I stay at home, I am of able body, she has no conditions for which it would be dangerous for me to care for her.

     I think of my children and how much it would benefit them to see and also be a part of her care as she ages. She is very concerned about being a burden. But what a gift it is to give someone you love care and be with them in their time of need. What an example to our children of respect for their elders, sacrifice of time, and energy well spent. Again the bible says:

1 Timothy 5:4 ESV
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
Proverbs 23:22 ESV     
Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

     It seems to me like the majority of our elderly generation are cared for by home health workers or nursing homes or assisted living homes. What message do we send our children. That when we are old we are useless and have no experience or wisdom to impart. That our lives should not be disrupted or inconvenienced by those who cared for us? That we are on our own in this world and should not depend on each other in time of need?

     I guess what I am saying is I want my children to hold value and respect for our golden oldies. That they see them as ones to be reverenced and regarded. That they would seek council and wisdom from them. I mean I hope when I am old they wont be so busy that they throw me in a home and barely remember to come by on holidays. These beautiful blessings I pour my blood, sweat and tears into day in and day out. I hope I train my children in the way they should go. And I hope I have given you something to think about and search Gods word for. What a blessing we could give our children by honoring our elders with care and respect.

     I worked at an assisted living home for my first job and the woman I sat with would have moments of clarity and I remember her saying, " It's a second infancy I am in. Both times with diapers and unsteady feet." She was a character! Let it be an honor to tread the waters of age with our loved ones.

     If you are caring for a loved one in home please comment and share any practical ways you honor your keepsake and ways you work through the struggles of blending your family.


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