A Needed Break
Mar 27, 2022 | by The Fellowship
My husband, now in his early nineties, began to show signs of dementia a few years ago. He also has physical limitations that have really diminished his quality of life. Macular degeneration has robbed him of some of his sight and many of his previous pleasures such as reading, playing games, golfing and driving. He has also had multiple knee replacements that have greatly limited his mobility.
When he came home from his last knee replacement, I obtained a hospital bed for him to sleep in and thankfully it fit in our bedroom. Life changed rather drastically for us at that point. He went from being relatively independent to needing a lot of help with almost everything he does -- like dressing, bathing, taking medications, etc. There is very little he can do without my help.
His dependency became overwhelming! He seemed to be content with “his own little world,” but “my little world“ was becoming smaller. COVID did not help our socialization with family and friends; in fact, it isolated us. Thank goodness he does sleep a lot during the day and while he is napping, I try to get household chores done and have a few minutes to myself. But there are times when I feel trapped -- and know this is a common problem for those who are caregivers for their loved ones. I pray a lot and frequently ask the Lord to help me cope.
One day my neighbor mentioned that her church, Epiphany Catholic, has a program once a month called The Gathering for the elderly with dementia and other related issues. The three-hour event always includes lunch, activities, and entertainment. It usually has a theme, like Valentine’s Day in February and St. Patrick’s Day this month. My neighbor gave me the name of the person in charge, and I called and enrolled my husband.
What a joy it was to anticipate a few hours to myself to do whatever I wanted! I so need a break now and then. The director of that ministry also told me there were other churches in Katy that participate in the same program on alternating weeks -- St. Peter’s Methodist, Living Word Lutheran, St. Paul’s Episcopal -- and at least one other church is considering doing an outreach like this. So, I called and got him enrolled at a couple of the other churches as well..
Persuading him that these were great opportunities to get out and be among people, to have a change of scenery, a meal out and some stimulating fun was not easy. But he reluctantly agreed to give it a try.
The churches send out invitations before each event and include the menu in case any of the food to be served might be a problem! When one of the meals was going to be pasta with chicken, a meat my husband does not like, we asked if he could have it without the chicken. They happily agreed and gave him more pasta than he could eat!
My husband had been to only two of these events when we told another neighborhood couple (in circumstances somewhat similar to ours) about it. The wife was thrilled, as I had been, and immediately got her husband enrolled! Now the guys sit next to each other and enjoy the outings together! It has made a huge difference in their willingness to go! My prayer is that my husband will make new friends and love it even more. This outlet has been a blessing to him and myself.
How thankful I am for this wonderful answer to prayer! And for this beautiful ministry that churches are being led to offer to the community. May they be blessed beyond measure for so graciously meeting this need!
A Grateful Caregiver
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.