Friday, December 7

Some deep thoughts

Yesterday I met with a friend whose wife had died tragically and unexpectedly while working in the office of a community leader. I had met his wife several times, but knew very little about her. I did not attend the funeral - in fact it was some distance from here, and I was unavailable.

He gave me a copy of his eulogy, as well as a copy of the order of service, which was wonderful - dotted with colour photos of her, and their family. He's now left to care for himself, and of course as it is only a short time since her death, it is pretty raw for him.

As a family they were caring for her parents, which he will happily continue to do. But he feels ill equipped to do so. He loved his wife very much and it will be a continuation of his love for her, that he will maintain the caring role of his in-laws.

I am an ex nurse, and in my last nursing role was an aged care nurse, and educator for aged care workers. I met one of my students in a restaurant last week. He was wearing a council worker uniform. Seems he found bus driving more financially lucrative and he didn't have to bear the burden of nurses who were less than professional in their care of the elderly.

But he did tell me that he used his nursing skills, when he recently returned to India to care for his ailing mother. He taught his sister to change the sheets on the bed with their mother still in the bed and he laughed as he told me of his memory of the lesson in which I showed the students how to do it. He valued the lessons I gave him as he was able to pass on this knowledge to his sister, and be of great assistance in the last days of his mother's life.

So many people get "thrown" in to the care of elderly people - and most are ill prepared. I found a great website which should be of assistance to anyone with elderly family members, and it has a great forum for discussion about issues.

What impressed me is that in the UK they use terminology that is different to ours, and I like the sound of it. They talk of a care home. Is that the same as our "nursing homes"? The words "care home" conjure up something a lot more pleasant than "aged care unit" or "nursing home."

In any case I will direct my recently widowed friend to the website. It has great information that I am sure will be helpful to him in some way.

How did we ever manage with the wonderful resources of the internet?

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