Christmas Presence

Christmas Presence

Image_001I wish I could wrap up some of the following ‘presents’ for our residents living in Grace and Faith Manor … however, they are not of a material nature that allows for ribbons and bows and wrapping paper! These gifts are for our residents living in the Manors – for it is their importance to others – their families, friends and staff of Holland Christian Homes. You are not a number … you are not a medical chart … you are not a medical diagnosis … you are YOU … and YOU still have much to offer those who wish to absorb the value of your ‘presence.’

  • venerate the elderly for their wisdom, for their love, for their skills and especially for their joy of living;
  • respect those of our residents who can no longer remember the events of the day … and share your memories by helping them to reminisce or by helping them enjoy the ‘moment’ of clarity that you may be able to bring them;
  • don’t expect our residents to accept the losses that are endured upon admission to long-term care; rather help acknowledge that grief is a wave of ups and downs that are normal human experiences and that grieving loss has no time frames and sometimes comes in tsunamis of emotions;
  • be the person who surrounds our residents with authentic love and caring approaches and understanding of their individuality and their remarkable achievements;
  • activate your imagination as to what may make each day a good day rather than a day of routine and mundane necessities;
  • listen carefully to what is being said to you … it offers up opportunities of conversation and social interaction that can bring great personal acknowledgement to another person that they matter ‘just because’ they are unique and different from every other person around them;
  • understand that some of our residents have ‘broken’ pasts and experienced hardships that are not evident through observation … but are part of the human DNA that makes them deserving of our time and support;
  • don’t be afraid to challenge our residents to sustaining their quality of life to the best of their ability – not to ‘give in’ because they live ‘here’ in the Manor … but that they live here in the Manor for some assistance … and that doesn’t take away from who they are … who they were… and that there is more yet to be …
  • some of our residents are just a heartbeat away from feelings of loneliness due to circumstances beyond their control; you can fill this empty space with your compassion and humour … with your respect and your smile … with your ‘presence’ …
  • leave your judgments of others up to God … He has the discernment required … we do not … understand the fatigue of our resident’s families around Christmas and that their ‘presence’ is often pulled in many different directions and may not always be able to fulfill the seasonal needs of their loved one;
  • you might be able to wear a ‘present’ … or put a ‘present’ upon a shelf … but you cannot value this the same way you can value the ‘presence’ of another loving person who cares about you;
  • I believe that the success of one’s ‘presence’ in another’s life will bring comfort and sighs of calm in some of our most unexpected common hours;

If/when you are wrapping a ‘present’ for someone this Christmas … know that the person bringing the ‘present’ is far more valuable than the gift … the ‘presence’ of the person is the gift!

SHARING SOCIAL WORK WITH YOU
Shirl Hutchinson – RSSW-GER Faith and Grace Manor