Fulfilled living in later life
Spiritual comfort through The Way We Care

Tuesday 9th April 2024

Spiritual comfort through The Way We Care

Through The Way We Care, we’re committed to caring for the whole person, especially spiritually. Mark, our The Way We Care Lead at Emmaus House in Harrogate, shares some poignant moments that show how this makes such a difference to those who live with us, including those living with dementia

“As a The Way We Care Lead, I spend time with each family member, talking to them and getting to know them. One day a lady told me she was feeling very guilty. The background was that her father, who she had been close to, had died alone. She’d had an opportunity to go and visit but hadn’t gone. We’re talking 40 years ago. She is a lovely Christian lady, with a very strong faith. We talked about it and I said, ‘Would you like me to come back with some crafted prayers on forgiving yourself?’ She said she ‘yes’ so I found some materials and gave them to her.

“About a week later, I was doing some teaching and I happened to mention forgiveness. This lady butted in and said, ‘I know... I held something for 40 years and now I’m free.’ It was so wonderful. I was delighted.

“Both my parents lived to be very elderly and they used to say to me that they just wanted to go home. Our family members here sometimes say the same thing. They are in their 90s, they feel ready, they don’t know why God still has them here.

Pilgrims Friend Emmaus House Mark TWWCL

“The other day, I was sitting in the office and one of our family members was wheeled past the door by a carer. When she saw me she cried out so I went to her. She told me, ‘I’m so fed up. I want to go home. I have no purpose.’

“I talked to her and said, ‘Let me tell you what your purpose may be. Jesus loves you unconditionally and maybe you are here so we can love you unconditionally. It might not be about you, it might be about us learning to love you in that way.’ After that, we prayed together.

Pilgrims Friend Homesdale TWWC

“The next day, I spent time with her and she was so happy and I thought, ‘that landed, that’s good’. She’s 98, she’s in a wheelchair. You go ‘what is this for?’ but God always has a purpose. Every person is here for a reason.

“Music and hymns are so powerful. I saw this with my own mum, who had dementia. For the last four months of her life, she didn’t speak and then one day my sister came to see her and they sang together. At the mention of Jesus, she was just there in worship to Him. It’s just such an encouragement that this thing – dementia – does not rob you of your faith.

“I’ve seen how singing can soothe those experiencing the agitation that can come with dementia. I think of one lady in particular who, if I sang, would become calm and start to sing along. By the end of her life, her speech was going, but she could still sing word perfectly.

“One of the privileges of my role is being with our family members who are very near to the end of their life. A couple of months ago, a very dear lady was nearing the end. I’d printed off the words ‘It is well with my soul’ and we sang this over her. It was lovely to see how, in her final hours, this hymn brought absolute comfort to her.”

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