At our Conference Call for Christians on Ageing yesterday, the session was led by Ben Boland – a chaplain and pastor based in Australia.
He told us of his work with older people, an approach to seeking a balance in the work of churches, which so often skew their activities for the benefit of younger people – Keen to ensure a future for congregations – Often neglecting of denying the gifts and needs of older people.
His enthusiasm and positive approach was impressive and infectious.
His messages included an affirmation that personal awareness of and interest in spiritual matters, grows as we get older.
People sometimes come to faith or return to faith in old age, including extreme old age, and even though they are living with dementia.
This raised a response from one person in the seminar, who describes her experience when looking after her mother with progressive and eventually severe dementia. Although communication with words had long been lost – In their nearness, they were aware of spiritual closeness and communication: ‘A sixth sense’, she declared.
It brought to mind an acquaintance who lives with dementia – and says that the best way we can help her is: ‘Be there and love me’ – better than all the struggles with words attempting to anticipate of direct thoughts and wishes. Time and waiting and just being there and attentive – In peace.
Barbara Pointon, whose husband Malcolm lived and died with dementia spoke of her positive experience that she knew more of him as the dementia progressed and layers of sophistication were stripped away (1) Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell (Alzheimer's Documentary) | Real Stories - YouTube
Each week we post a blog from David Jolley where he shares his personal views on relevant subjects.