After years of contributing to society once retired the elderly is disposed of and forgotten. This is an unfortunate trend I have witnessed in today's world. If you want to be blessed then respect your elders. The Bible even cautions us in Leviticus 19:32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.
My Grandmother from as far as I could remember was a believer, she took me to church every opportunity she could. Over the years she grew older, my grandfather had passed on and with most households the younger ones left in search of greener pastures. Eventually my grandmother was alone,with hired help
Alzheimer crept in slowly and for awhile it was undetected. She was such a strong woman at ninety - two she was still gardening. But just before Kinko Biloba was the last resort to the problem, I had to make a decision to return home and take care of her.
Alzheimer’s disease pronounced (AHLZ-high-merz) is a brain disorder which progressively gets worst. It is commonly found in the elderly and is a common form of Dementia which is another mental disorder which kills brain cells. The condition eventually causes deterioration of the individual's memory and their abilities to perform normal functions and daily activities of living such as communicating with others, cooking, it causes delusions, make them suspicious they are unable to clean the house nor take care of their personal care, reasoning and making sound judgement becomes difficult.
Early detection of the disease is vital as changes in behaviour will occur and having someone caring for an elderly person with this condition is important. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s is stimulated by their own surroundings and someone who is patient and compassionate enough to devote quality time and attention to them.
According to WHO 2017 (World Health Organisation) based on research in 28 different countries it has been estimated that persons aged 60 years and older at least 15.7% of them have been the victims of some kind of abuse in their own home from health care workers employed to care for them.
Often time the elderly are left alone in their homes without anyone to care for them as family members innocently move on with life and think that parents and grandparents will live forever. Years pass by children get older, become adults themselves and migrate to start a life of their own, which is expected. Parents sometimes are taken for granted in the process. But life is like a revolving door and often no plans nor preparations are put in place to take care of the carers who once cared for us. A family without Christ at the centre will look in different directions to find fulfilment. As the saying goes the family that prays together stays together, as God will always make a way and tell you the secrets of life.
Psalm 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Children live what they learn, it is important to teach a child the importance of family values and set a firm foundation for your children from an early age. As they are the ones that will come back to take care of you in the long run. I have seen many situations where parents fail to teach their children Christian principles nor even pray for their children. The child grows up becomes successful and are ashamed of the very mother and father that sacrificed their life to put them in that position. They lacks respect and love for themselves, others and even the very parents that made them become somebody.
Exodus 20:12 says Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. However it's a big decision to make in my case, at the time I was twenty-four years old and at the peak of life. I though long and hard about it, even cried as I knew what would follow. A choice between taking care of the person who grew and cared for you can cause elements of discomfort, like your freedom. At the time I was working and living in paradise on a five star all inclusive resort on the North coast of the island of Jamaica where I grew up, the thought of moving back home to my Grandmother's house on the southern countryside of the island, next to a massive open plot of land that squatters had taken over and whose inhabitants constantly looked for their daily meal on the lush vegetation we had on our property didn't go down very well.
I was the only next of kin who lived local that was available, and no one wanted the inconvenienced nor to leave their comfortable lives to take on this task.
It was tough but by then God had been taking me on a journey and I was at a cross road. He had a better plan for my life and overnight it changed, my friends grew fewer and my career took a back seat. God indeed had a new plan for me and as I begun the journey it got more and more interesting. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a change that I would one day look back at and my tears would dry up and allow me to smile again.
I eventually moved back and the vibrant independent strong woman that I had grown to love know and admire had changed so much in a matter of months. She seemed subdued, her clothes were soiled, she looked dazed and the house was a mess even though we had employed someone to take care of her. Even though she instantly recognised who I was she was unable to recognise pictures of her own children. And when the phone rang and I watched her fight to remember which end to speak through. That was the transformation period in my life. I sent the woman that was there with her packing and took on the task of caring for her by myself.
I would wash, dress her, ensure she had her meals and make sure the house was spick and span. That’s when I started looking much deeper, than surface level. I became less naive and a bit more insightful about life. I started thinking more of her and less of myself. It didn’t seem so important, to be noticed on the social seen. Life now had a new and bigger meaning.
Caring for you're elderly loved one is advisable, it is a sacrifice that does not go unnoticed by God. In this way they get that personal attention that might just add a few additional years to their existence.
By then I started going back to church and took my grandmother with me, even though she was a Christian she had never gotten as deep with the Lord as the Lord allowed us to in this ministry. I eventually got saved, and was very active in the work of God. A new chapter had begun and God indeed was doing a new thing.
He surrounded me with a church family that took me as their own. They came to visit me regularly prayed with us and built our faith, this really help as by then my grandmother was a lot calmer and at peace.
The Lord eventually allowed me to meet someone that assisted me to take care of my grandmother. She was also a Christian and a firm believer, we would pray together and God started doing mighty miracles in our lives. Because of challenges people often get bitter and are unable to empathise with others, especially when they meet someone that is going through the same situation they did. They use it as an opportunity to inflict even more with their comments, attitude and behaviour. It is through challenges that you see the awesome power of God. Join me in the next blog to see how God makes your crocked paths straight Isaiah 45:21.
Written by Melanie Okorie