I’m Super Rich!

Wow, I have exciting news to share with you today! Look at the letter I received via email ( unedited):

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Dear Jessica,

I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise as we have never met
before, but need not to worry as I am using the only secured and
confidential medium available to seek for your foreign assistance in a
business. I am contacting you independently of my investigation and no one
is informed of this communication.

I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of ($12.5 million
united state dollar.) immediately to your private account. The money has
been here in our Bank lying dormant for nine good years now without anybody
coming for the claim of it. I want to release the money to you as the
nearest person to our deceased customer (the account owner) who died along
with his supposed NEXT OF KIN since August 1997.

The Banking ethics here does not allow such money to stay more than 16
years, because the money will be recalled to the Bank treasury as unclaimed
fund. Upon receipt of your reply indicating your interest in this
transaction, I will send you full details on how the business will be
executed.

Please keep this proposal as a top secret and delete if you are not
interested.

Regards,

Mr Marouphe Tanja.
Bank Of Africa, Burkina Faso-West Africa.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Now, I know you are excited as I am! What do you think I should buy first with that MUCH money???money

Are You A Foreigner?

I have known Pam for over ten years. We spend every Friday night standing around the softball field shooting the breeze , about a whole lot of nothing. Last Friday night was a bit odd; odd and a tad awkward.
” Hey Jessi, can I ask you something? ” Before I could answer, Pam continued, ” Are you a foreigner?”
Wow. Where do you think that came from? Right out of the blue. Okay, let’s assess the situation. I am dressed in a softball jersey and Nike shorts; nope not that. Could it be my jet black hair, maybe? Or is it my dark suntan than has enhanced my already “suntan color” skin? Is it my dark eyes?
” Um, no, I am not a foreigner Pam…” I said as I chuckled. I am Indian.” I think that should have cleared the matter right up……. or not.
” Oh cool. Do you wear the dot? You know the dot thing in your forehead?” By now the whole ball team was interested in the convo.
” Dot? Say what? What dot?” I asked before I thought it through. She was referring to the bindhi, the symbol adorning women from predominately Asia, including India. Pam thinks Indian means India-n.
” No, not India, Indian;…. Native American …Indian….” I explained. She seemed satisfied with the clarification, so I thought………
“Oh, I didn’t think Indians were called Indians anymore. Ya’ll are called Native Americans, that’s what is correct now. That’s why I was confused. Indians are the “dot people”, and the other Indians are Native Americans.” Pam’s education of what an Indian was/is and her definitions of both sects of people amused me.
” Well Pam, I understand your thinking, but to say I am a Native American is incorrect. America did not exist, until an Italian explorer named Amerigo Vespucci actually arrived in the continent before Columbus , discovered it. Hence the name ” America, after Amerigo.” Oddly enough, when Columbus did “discover America, he thought it was ” India”. Native Americans called America, ” Turtle Island” or other names, such as “Fourth Home” depending on tribal location……..” Before I could finish my explanation, Pam had lost interest and moved to another conversation………..just as the Ump yelled, ” PLAY BALL”!
As the team took to the field, I thought about Pam and the whole conversation that had just transpired. I wondered why she had thought to ask the initial question; what her curiosity was sparked by, and if she had understood anything I had said. Having been friends for over ten years, what difference did it really make it I were a “foreigner” or not? Would it have changed our friendship if I had answered ” yes”?
racist
We worry these days about being Politically Correct. We don’t wish to “offend”, but yet we will judge in a moments’ notice. Right after 9/11, each time I boarded an aircraft, I would become extremely nervous if I saw a “foreigner”, dressed a certain way…..If I took the subway in New York, I would become very alarmed if someone boarded the train that wore saggy pants and a sideways baseball cap……….Even though I knew the politically correct identity of each, it was what I thought I knew that allowed me to judge them…….I guess you could call it stereotyping. We forget who the person is, their stand alone identity…..and choose to group them as we assume they all are. Not all who are from the mid-east are terrorist……not all who wear baggy pants are thugs……
One day I will ask Pam why she asked that question, just to satisfy my own curiosity…..But you know, I did learn one thing from that Friday night experience; none of us are above being judged by another, even those who are our friends.. It’s just human nature. If there is anything unique or different about you, be sure those around , have taken notice and made a decision about how they feel about you.
Look at dementia patients. They have names, John, Bill, Teresa, Mary, Wilma, Nana, Grandma…Grandpa, Boompa, or Papa….Yet, due to the progressed dementia, they have been re-classed, fitting the definition of a disorder, not the person they are. Just because Nana can’t remember the family tree, her visitors slowly fade….The “family” doesn’t think she “knows what’s going on, or knows who they are”, hence the lack of visitors. Nana has been stereotyped with a class of forgotten people…the “dementia patients”. Here’s my question to them, ” Have you forgotten who she is? Is she the same Nana who cooked your favorite creamed filled chocolate pie every Sunday when you were a child? Was her home the destination for Christmas Eve feasts, where she filled your stocking with so many goodies that it overflowed? Did she not babysit you at some point in time? Were you not the ” apple of her eye” as most grandchildren are? Then why suddenly has she fallen into the profile of the forgotten? Simply because her memory is shot?
Just as Pam made her assertions based on what she saw, thought or had even heard, I am still the same person I was ten years ago when we first met; just as your Nana is the same person as she was in 1970……….it’s the your perception of the person that changed…………….
My point today is simple…..I don’t care about Political Correctness. I don’t care if the Washington Redskins are called the Redskins or The Washington Blacksheep, they are my football team. I don’t care if you think Columbus discovered America or India…….I am proud to live in the United States. I don’t care if you think dementia and Alzheimer’s are the same thing……
I care about kindness. I care about living peacefully with everyone else. I care about finding a cure for dementia. I care about making the world a better place……..It doesn’t matter if I’m red, black, yellow or green; or if I have on baggy pants or skin tight jeans, wear a bandana or a Hijab….or if I am of sound mind or half crazy……….none of it matters. ….. What matters is, we should all matter.

The New Normal

This week one of the residents in the facility, Mr. Irwin, caught a news segment about the violence taking place across the world, following by a blurb about an ebola patient in Texas. Even though his dementia, he recognized how the world has changed, for the worse.
“Back in my day, you didn’t see all those kinds of things. I am glad I am old and no longer out there.”
Wow, what a profound truth. The world has become a much more scary place than the Roaring Twenties, or even the Fabulous Fifties ……instead we migrated to Terrifying Two-Thousands. We have reached a place in our society where we live with drive by shootings instead of rival fist fights. We no longer walk away from a job, angry at our employer; but rather we whip out a Uzi and shoot them. We no longer simply divorce a spouse,; we hire a hit man to eliminate them. Our worst nightmares have become the reality in which we live.
As I walk through the facility, I see residents who have lived through so much. They battled some of the greatest wars ever fought, and came home heroes. They fought for our freedom, defending the Nation that once was “Under God.” Today, I am not sure what we are ” under”. It is my belief that the day the President proclaimed that we were ” no longer a Christian nation…”, we were doomed. Back in the 20s, Islam may have existed, but it was not the faith of our Founding Fathers. Back in the 30’s, I am sure no one could define “Muslim”. I don’t think there was ever a “school massacre in the 50’s. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, the psychedelic generations, no one knew what a ” terrorist attack”, was all about………. In the 80’s, we did not fear for our lives every time we stepped out of our front door. We didn’t worry about being beheaded or catching a disease that has no cure…..
Last weekend, I was at Washington Dulles Airport. I was caught off guard what I saw the police officers patrolling with dogs and machine guns. Machine guns. I looked around to see what was going on; assessing to see if we were under attack…hoping they would get the bad guy …but no, rather, this is the new normal.
I do not like the new normal. It was bad enough living in the Washington DC area when the Beltway Sniper roamed about shooting at, and killing people for sport. The entire Tri State area was on full alert. Gas stations placed tarps around the gas pumps so we could hide behind them as we filled up our cars. People ran for safety as they parked in grocery store parking lots; hoping to not be shot by the snipers. We truly lived in fear during that time. We all hoped and prayed that law enforcement would “catch the guy” who was terrorizing us. Once they captured the pair of shooters, all of DC went back to normal. The tarps came down; playgrounds were filled with kids playing and laughing and parks became overcrowded……we had returned to our normal lives.
Now with the possibility of random killings, beheadings, drive by shootings, flag burnings and “cell groups” laying in wait for their prey……I guess the police do need to carry machine guns….. I think the days of feeling safe anywhere….are over.
I remember starting the school day with the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I attended Sunday School and memorized the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and Psalm 23. I was taught to say ” please, thank you, no ma’am and no sir.” I bowed my head and said “grace” before every meal. Before I went to bed, I knelt on my knees and prayed… ” Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die, before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take, amen”. Child Praying
Now, the Ten Commandments are no longer allowed in Government buildings because they are “offensive and violate the freedom of religion”. Whose religion?????? Not mine. Children can not stand and say the Lord’s Prayer because ” it violates the rights of others”. Whose rights? Not mine. We live in world that is now more worried about the rights of others that we no longer have rights. We worry about violating other’s freedoms to the point where we have no freedom. We are no longer a ” Nation Under God”. We replaced our Fearless attitude with that of being fearful…..  ten-commandments-broken-top-001

 

Mr. Irwin forgot what the news anchor reported and the images he saw shortly after seeing them. He shuffled on down the hall to bingo without a care in the world…………oh how I wish I could do the same………..
if my peple

Forever Labeled

I was in the mall this weekend and found myself passing judgement on others based on how people looked, or were dressed.
” Check out the dude with blue hair…what a weirdo”….I whispered to my friends.
” Did you see that woman? She had to be at least 600 pounds”….another whisper. The whispering continued….
” Check out that guy over there with the tattoo on his FACE…”
” Wow, did you see that teenager with barely any clothes on? Her parents let her out of the house looking like that?”……….
” Look at that gangsta, he should invest in a belt or pants that fit…..”
” Aww, look at the older couple, holding hands, aren’t they cute?”……

Amazing how we define what we see, based on what we are looking for. We are all quick to judge based on what we see without thought to what we know. You know it’s true….and you know you are guilty of making assumptions and passing judgement; it’s only human to do so.

The same is true with dementia patients. We label them as “demented” and quickly forget that he/she is a person…We speak loudly to them, but yet, they do not have hearing loss. We direct them to “sit down”, “eat your food” and “let’s go to the bathroom” as if they are children. Yet, they are not children. We toss all dementia patients in the same proverbial hat and treat them all the same, without consideration for the unique person each was, is, or will be.

Look at Willie. He lost his wife, so he grieves. Since he has a diagnosis of dementia, we ignore his feelings of loss, sadness and grief, choosing to medicate with antidepressants to offset the dementia related disorder. Hmm. The label of dementia supercedes what is actually happening in his life. Labeled.
love
Look at Rev. Carmichael. He has dementia. BUT, he jumped out of a second story window before arriving at my facility. The documentation stated he jumped out of the window because of ” dementia and not knowing what he was doing”. After spending time with him, we learned that he wanted to die because he had no purpose for living. His wife had passed away, he was no longer a pastor, and he felt trapped inside of his 620 foot apartment. Yet,he was labeled as ” a dementia patient”……..

Look at Steve. Younger guy who recently moved in. He has dementia. But, at the psych hospital, someone asked him if he ever took illegal drugs. He said yes. So his chart reads, “dementia related to heroin and other mild altering drug abuse.” Ask Steve ” Is the sky red?”.. Answer “Yes”. “Am I an alien”? Answer “Yes.” ” Do you shoot Heroin?” Answer, ” Yes”. Are you the President of the USA?”……Answer…… “YES”. Now he is labeled as drug-induced onset dementia patient. Funny thing is, his family will tell you that he never took drugs, except for smoking pot in his younger days… yet he is not LABELED.

From all of this, I draw one conclusion. We as humans, need to stop labeling one another. We need to invest in the lives of others before we form conclusions, make casual assumptions or form opinions. Sounds simple. But is it?

Bipolar Brain

Originally posted on Broken Light: A Photography Collective:

Photo by contributor Matt Williams from Portsmouth, UK. In his late teens and early twenties he learned that he was living with bipolar disorder. He felt lost and in many ways existing or deluding himself rather than really living life. He has since stabilized, and discovered what is good for him, such as creativity, and what he should avoid. His bipolar has led him to experience periods of immense joy and at other times wondering why the world is so crazy. Mostly, he treasures those close to him who have supported him and shown him that the world is really worth sticking around for.

About this photo: “Bit like my brain sometimes – lots going on. Long exposure on a bridge near the Southbank. Like the colours and arches.”

Find more from Matt at his blog.

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FINAL WEEK to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign on Fund Dreamer: Fight Mental Illness With Photography!!!

**Visit Broken Light’s main…

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K9 Kota Challenge

Recently I was reading an article about a police dog ,named K9 Kota. I must say I was impressed with his love for his handler. After reading the article, I found myself thinking, ” Wow, a dog did all of that for his handler and I’m not sure I have a friend who would have done that for me!” You see, Kota and his police handler were answering a radio call for a burglary when the incident that changed everything happened.
Upon arriving at the house, the officers were trying to locate and apprehend one of the burglars, while Kota sought out and attempted to subdue a second burglar who had hidden himself in an attic space. No one is sure what happened….but as Kota and the burglar struggled, Kota fell through the ceiling and sustained massive injuries to his leg, including broken bones. In the meantime, the officers were still trying to get the first burglar under control on the second floor of the house. They knew nothing of Kota’s injuries. They had heard a crash and a yelp, but they were not in a position to help him………

Loveothers

Kota, severely injured, knew his handler was still up there, scuffling with the bad guy. Without thought of himself, his pain, his injury or suffering, Kota climbed each step to make sure she was okay.
Such a selfless act of Valor……

The world today could learn so much from Kota and the traits he possesses. Loyal, concerned, devoted and selfless are just a few words that come to my mind…….Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all cared for and respected one another with such intensity? Can you imagine how peaceful the world would be if we always put others before ourselves?
There is an old expression, ” the world has gone to the dogs”…..My thought is this….if all the dogs were like Kota, that would be a dynamic statement to define the society we have become! Sadly though, I don’t think that old adage is meant in a positive way…………….
You know, people everywhere are taking challenges from Ice Bucket Dumping to Hot Dog Consumption to raise money for very worthwhile causes. I too, have a challenge that I would like to present, but not for any cause, except for the cause of kindness. We will call it the ” Kota Challenge”.
For 24 hours, replace negativity with positivity. Exchange hate for love. Kindness instead of cruelty. Understanding for judgment. Selfless instead of selfish. Patience instead of condemnation.

Jesus Himself set the standard for how we should live and how we should treat other people. Look at this :
• Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you
• Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
• Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
• 1 Peter 3 8-12 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

• Philippians 2-4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Lastly, my personal favorite:
Romans 12: 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Imagine that….OUTDOING one another with kindness……Wow.
That’s the theme for our Kota Challenge. Outdoing one another with kindness……….That is my challenge to each of you.

One last thing, good deeds don’t always go unnoticed. Kota is up for an award. The Hero Dog Award. Please consider going to this website and casting your vote for him..

http://www.herodogawards.org/vote

This is a photo of K9 Kota, used by permission from his handler. You can follow him and his healing progress on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/k9kota

writekota

Don’t forget to take the Kota Challenge!

See Spot Run

Do you remember when you were back in grade school, learning the difference between nouns and verbs? We were taught proper nouns, improper nouns, pronouns and action words…. I can still hear my second grade teacher asking; ” What is the noun in the sentence , See Spot run.? Well, that’s simple. Spot. spot
Pleased with our correct response, she challenged us further. ” What is the first verb in the sentence?” Ah, that too is simple. Run. The teacher turned back to the chalkboard and underlined the word ” See”.
” Run is not the first verb. The word see is the first action word……………… How can it be? See is really an action word? In the mind of a small child, it’s a thing we do with our eyes not an action word…………..
Over the years, I clearly have come to understand how indeed, it is an action word. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning and begin “seeing”, actions follow. Seeing triggers action. This morning when I opened my eyes and my feet hit the floor, my eyes led me to load the dishwasher, mop the kitchen floor and pay two bills that were laying on my counter. I opened my laptop, sent 9 emails, read 111 more and quickly scanned FB and Twitter to see what I had missed overnight.
Driving to work, my action word based eyes caused me to yield to oncoming traffic, stop at red lights and pass Sunday drivers.
Arriving at work, I began the task of making visual rounds, quickly pointing out the things I saw wrong.
” Why is the TV on this channel?”
“Who left this chart here?
” What exactly is this we are serving for breakfast?
“Why is this resident sitting here and not in the dining room?
” Who dressed Mrs. Smith in red and pink, seriously?”
My action based ability to ” see,” certainly found what was wrong in every setting. From the moment I got up, I was correcting things, fixing things and following my eyes every direction…….Yet, my eyes did not point me to the beauty of the things around me, the positives, the pleasantries……………How could that be? My verb (seeing) led me to a another verb…”judging”.
We all do it. We judge based on what we see. We form opinions based on what we think we know, based on how things appear, based on what we see……..it’s a domino effect.
Regardless of whether we are dealing with friends, family or dementia patients, we need to temper our “seeing” with a noun ( compassion) and a adjective ( understanding).We need to stop seeing so much of what we think we see and take notice of the beauty and the positives that are around us.
Many times what we see, depends on what we are looking for……..If we wish to see the negatives, guess what? We will find them. If we wish to be critical, judgmental and bias based on what we think we see, we will find ourselves miserable, depressed and in a constant state of anger.
Let’s go back to the questions I drilled my staff on this morning.
” Why is the TV on this channel?” Because the staff was taking care of the residents and did not notice the TV or it’s channel.
“Who left this chart here? The doctor. He is in the room with the wife of a resident who is dying; providing her with comfort and reassurance.
” What exactly is this we are serving for breakfast? It’s a new recipe given to us by a resident’s daughter. It was her mother’s favorite dish.
“Why is this resident sitting here and not in the dining room? ” Her son is taking her to breakfast.
” Who dressed Mrs. Smith in red and pink, seriously?” It’s her birthday, and red and pink are her favorite colors. She picked the outfit out herself.”
“Oh”. What else I could I say, but oh? You see, I allowed my eyes to pass judgment before I knew the facts. How many times in life, are we all guilty of jumping to conclusions, based on what we think we know or see? How many times have we been proven wrong after the fact?
” See Spot Run.” Maybe we should find out why Spot is running….maybe he is running to his owner, full of joy, excitement and elation! Maybe he is running from a bear! Maybe is running after his ball….. dog-chasing-ball-7946297

What we see, depends on what we are looking for.
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“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”

― John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in
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I Lived

You know, life truly is short. Shorter than we realize. When I walk about the facility, I see the weathered, seasoned lives of 80 year olds, if not older. I have read their files, know their stories and understand the many trials they have seen. The Great Depression, wars and more wars, political corruption( i.e. Watergate), Presidential Assassination ( JFK), attempted assassination (Reagan), and so much more……………… They have survived and endured so much. At the same time, I have heard great stories of places they have been ( Great Wall of China), events they witnessed, ( launch of space shuttles), and places they have lived ( all over the world).

I would say that they did more than endure, survive and “just get by”, I would say they truly lived . During the difficult times, they didn’t crumble…..they withstood whatever came at them. In the good times, they united to build a stronger sense of community. They used their talents, skills, trades craft and whatever else to support themselves and their families…….they didn’t rely on a “system” or the government to take care of them. To this generation “low income housing” was not a coined phrase. Food stamps were unheard of. Now they knew about
S & H Greenstamps…..( even my computer does not know what greenstamps are….it keeps telling me greenstamps is not a word!). greenstams
Many of the women from that generation would give birth in the bedroom in the morning and be up making dinner by nightfall. The men not only fought in the war, but would work hard when they came home, doing whatever they could to meet ends meet. Back then, hand-outs were only traded for hand-ups…..they helped each other by share-cropping, barn raisings and team sweating. They were not a generation of expectation .

Today, most of them have forgotten many of the things they have been through. Dementia has robbed them of the pride and sense of accomplishment they should feel. Yet, you and I know where they have been. We know the things they went through…..and it’s because of their efforts that you and I have the luxury to sit at our computers today. We are afforded so much…….great americans

But you know, I hope my life as a fruitful as theirs was/has been. I hope that I can contribute in some small way to make the world a little better. I hope that when I am in my 80’s,someone will want to hear my story and walk away saying….. “wow, she lived an awesome life.” Not because of money, ( I will never be rich working in health care), not because of fame ( Im not even sure my neighbor knows my name), or because I found a cure for athlete’s foot (( ewww). I simply want to be remembered as a person who was a productive, constructive member of society.

My Generation will be remembered too. For things such as; having people who don’t wish to work, who burn American Flags, lived off of the government, created it’s own racial wars, took prayer out of schools, banned the Ten Commandments from court-rooms and found termination of an unborn baby as an okay thing to do. ( Hey, Im not making judgements here, I am merely stating what we, as a whole generation will be remembered for…..)

The good news is this…our generation is still in the role of making decisions and we still have an opportunity to be remembered as one of the greatest generations yet…..but the first step is to try. We must stop the foolishness of who shot who, who did what to who; and determine what we can do to fix a very broken system. Get up off the couch, go find a job.( Slinging burgers at a fast food joint is a JOB),
start supporting yourself and your family,( work 2 jobs) and stand up for God and Country ( no explanation needed).
We need to defend what the generations before us fought for…….not just watch it fade away without meaning.

What does this have to do with dementia? My only point is, the residents sitting in the dining room at my facility right this minute, had far fewer resources, no advanced technology, and managed to accomplish great things. They may have forgotten what they did……but I haven’t. Dementia may have stolen that from them, but I will continually serve as a reminder of where they took us……how they made us…..and how they lived.
great generation

Quote

Sunday Best

Sometimes I understand the confusion of a dementia patient; often declaring to myself that maybe the patient is not the one confused! Think about this for a second, you and I know how things operate today in our high-tech, modern world. We tweet and tweeting has nothing to do with the sounds a bird makes…Tweeting has nothing to do with Tweety bird or Sylvester the cat.TweetyBird
Yet, we as a modern society “tweet”. Back in the 30’s,40’s….heck, even in the 90’s, no one knew what a tweet was.

Not only do we “tweet and retweet, but we friend and unfriend people that we do not know, have never met and truly know nothing about. Back in the olden days, people were friends with only those within horse travel range…..not worlds away. So, trying explain to grandma who is on your Friends List, may not make much sense…………

Last week I promised to send an email to a resident’s son in regards to a concern he had. The conversation went like this:

” Send a what?”
” An email”
” A what mail?
” An email. You know, using the computer. Writing a letter on the computer.”
” Oh, you are writing to him.Why can’t you pick up the phone and call him? Seems to me that would be faster. Get the answer right then instead of waiting on the mailman.”

At that point, I resigned from the conversation, knowing he was right. I could call the son.But who calls anyone anymore? Emails, faxes and telecommunication have made given us the right to not communicate verbally…….yet we tweet out hashtags to strangers and chat incessantly with invisible people……..BUT ee do not want to engage with people within ear-shot…..hmmmm.

It’s not just technology that causes confusion in the elderly. A group of volunteers came in to the visit and fellowship with the residents a few weeks back. (Now, I am not passing judgement on how anyone dresses….if you wear baggy pants that sport your underwear hanging out, that’s none of my business. If you like to wear what we called “tights” back in my day, and you call them pants….well, that’s your business as well………). But here’s the thing……when religious organizations come into a dementia facility, you would think their dress code would reflect a certain degree of “churchy-ness”. You know what I mean…..look like you came from church. Think about the generation we are catering to in the facility……these men and women were modest in dress back in their day, in all aspects of life. Men dressed in suits for church, complete with their underwear tucked in, pants pulled up to their waist and even wore a belt. Women wore clothing that was not revealing and was neither too loose, nor painted on. I digress……… church

So this church group comes into the facility……preparing to have a “service.”. The young man was trying to get Mr. Harris, who is extremely hard of hearing, to come out to participate.
” Mr. Harris, would you like to come out to the church service we are having today?” The young man asked.
“The what? Supper?”
” No sir, church service. I am leading a church service out in the activity room. Do you want to come?” I could hear the young man’s voice down the hall way .
” Church service? Is is a church service?”
“Yes sir.”
Once that was established. the young man wheeled Mr. Harris into the activity room, placing him right up front. He was in plain view of other church members………..as I passed by, Mr. Harris motioned for me to come over to him.

” Look, see that man over there? He invited me to church. But look, you see them people over there? (He pointed out a few of the women who had very short skirts and well, let’s just say…well nevermind).
“This ain’t no church service, this is like a gentleman’s club. Can you wheel me to the right program?” He asked.

What was I to do? Explain to him that times have changed? (That we dress differently today? Should I explain to him that churches today have men and women in the pulpit who dress the same as the men and women sitting in the pews…….who don’t dress much differently than women working the streets……….. Hmmmmmmm.) How could I help him understand that THIS is the church service…..that the message would probably be really good, and that he would enjoy the music?
I patted him on the shoulder and spoke loudly, Let’s stay for a while. I bet you will recognize the songs……….”

Five minutes later, the music began. It was not the Hymns from the church. It was our praise music of today…. the sound of electric and acoustic guitars filled the activity room. It was indeed worship music, but not music this population would know. Instead of “Amazing Grace”, they sang
” Amazing Love”. Instead of How Great Thou Art, they sang ” How Great Is our God”……(hey, I love these songs myself. If I don’t know the words, I make up my own and sing them loudly in my car…)

Mr. Harris, not realizing the volume of his own voice turned to me and said;
” I told you this ain’t no church. Take me out, take me out, take me out……” I quickly got up and wheeled him back to his room. For the rest of the afternoon, he wheeled himself around the facility, fixated on finding the “church service.” The nurses charted on him stating he had increased confusion….” Did he? Was he really more confused? Or, did we set him up to be confused?

I wonder how advanced the world will be when you and I are “nursing home” ready……will we not understand the technology and jargon speak to us in? Will robots be providing our care? Regardless of what happens, will you make sure that I am dressed in my Sunday Best, wheeled to the activity room for church service….and placed right up front…..I might just know the words to the songs………………

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