Margaret is an 80 year old who is bedfast in her own home. Her muscles, bones and ligaments have been affected by an autoimmune rheumatoid condition.
It is an acute pain of the soul
to lose your world, so much a part of you.
To lose the times you made and ruled as well
in the patterns of your being where you could dwell,
Change might be an adventure when we are in the stream of early and midlife,
but for an elder change can be daunting. Routine in these later years takes less energy at a time when you are taken up with the new demands that fragility brings. We still want to be involved in what happens to us, make decisions, have choices. We need it to be understood that we know our bodies and our body rhythms and we know how our body is coping with the effects of enough constant changes in the patterns of our lives. Flexibility in the process of the caring profession that we depend on so much plays a vital part in helping us to keep our individuality, our confidence and our sense of self. If the changes in the day to day needs for care and assistance can be considered with reasoned compassion, understanding and respect, we are then still part of our community; especially of a professional Nursing Community where the flexibility enables us to come together as people, not just as client and providers. Instead, we are included in a nursing network and we don’t feel so infringed, left out, less than and helpless.
Another vital consideration in these years is the personalised help we receive in this network of Community Nursing, a system of care that adjusts to our needs, particularly in attitude, that comes across with the kindness and respect that is due to everyone, frail or strong. To treat an elder without this sensitivity is to lessen the humanity which is so important, both
to the carer and the one cared for. This can be a health factor like a breath of fresh air to feel, at the time of being cared for, that this is your time, that you are the focus for this time. To be known amongst those who care for you, rather than just a client at an address, makes being cared for a part of our lives rather than just a necessity. In the caring profession this is an art and those who practice it are way ahead of those to whom caring is just a job.