Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Thought for the Day

Slightly more personal TFTD today as one of the stories was about an innovative new device being used in a local dementia care home. Anyway, as delivered an hour ago at BBC Radio Bristol:

Honour your father and your mother that your days may be long... So says one of the two versions of the fifth commandment.

My Mum is 91 and lives in a dementia care home near where I grew up.

It's been tough walking the last few years with her. From the decision that she wasn't safe to live independently, to the person who now only recognises me some days when I visit.

Several good experiences have come out of this. There's the quality of the carers. Lovely people. And the power of music; some old folk who cannot speak still sing and recall lyrics. There's a friendship we develop with the other visitors - co-members of a club we wish we didn't belong to. And there's the genius of those who invent devices to help such as the high-tech touch table at Manor Park.

Mum now identifies every slightly-built middle-aged man with glasses as me. So, even though my visits are becoming less regular, she swears she saw me in the garden yesterday, or on the tele. It's stopped the guilt-trip she used to lay that I didn't visit often enough. Yes, some of the humour I find in this is decidedly dark.

Back to that commandment. Why would honouring parents make your days longer? Simple. As with much biblical wisdom it's fiercely practical. Before social security old people, who could not work the land, became an economic burden. The way the kids learned to look after you when you were old was if you had modelled it with your own folks.

I don't know the end of Mum's journey; but I am grateful for the people, known and unknown, who share it with me.

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