The pastoral care team of our parish, of which Sr Jeannette Nadeau, f.j. is a member, recently offered us two sessions by Patricia Gardner, social worker, on preparing for the last years of life. Several Daughters of Jesus and Associate members attended.
Plan for necessary transitions
The first session talked about the importance of preparing for the time where one must make the
transition between independent living, assisted living and eventually having to leave one’s home for a nursing ho
me. It is best not to wait for a crisis to talk about this among ourselves and with our loved ones, in order to be well prepared. Many have strong resistance to this reality.
This is a moment of great loss : one’s home, so many personal objects that one treasures, one’s neighborhood, Church, friends… These are losses added to many others at this time of life :
- often loss of a partner,
- one’s health,
The transition is always easier when the person comes to her own decision on this. Sometimes it is possible to live with a family member, but this is not always a success. Most often, one will move into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. After a difficult period of adaptation, one can discover a new life with many advantages.
For us Daughters of Jesus of Alberta, it’s easy to adapt this to our religious life. We too, will leave our communities to live in care facilities. We must prepare our heart and resolutely dispose of what is no longer necessary. It is also very important to write down the name of someone who will carry out our decisions regarding our end of life care, and have a valid will.
What about dementia
The second session was about dementia. First Patricia explained the difference between normal memory loss that comes with age and dementia caused by illness. Dementia has many different causes and also many different symptoms which were explained in detail.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s
Patricia gave us advice to help us in our relationship with the person with dementia : do not argue with her, enter her perception, do not tell the whole truth, reach her by music, pictures, and stories of the past… She also gave us ways to keep our mind healthy :
- physical and mental exercise,
- learn new things,
- be optimistic,
- eat well and sleep well, avoid stress,
- maintain friendships and a social life…
Gisèle Labonté, f.j. and Muriel Tiano, Associate