I hope this story about Albert back in 2001 can be used for reflection and discussion today to bring about more support.
Albert had already been in the residential home four days when I first met him. The events of four days had overtaken and introducing him to me was overlooked, and so I introduced myself. Albert gave the appearance of a gentle person. He was happy to join in the prayer service and gave the impression of feeling at peace.
I always made time to get to know new residents and so I wanted to get to know Albert, which I did over the following weeks. The staff talked to me about him. They said, he was confused, quiet, no trouble – the resident every home would want to have. They said he had a son who hasn’t been to see his dad.
Over the next few weeks I noticed a change in Albert; his face radiated great joy during the prayer services and other times he spoke of his family and his love for them, as well as the general heartaches of life.
A relationship of trust developed. He told me what I had recognised previously that there were things which saddened him which were hidden in his distant memory. He told me how throughout his life he gave to others, at work, church or in the community whether it be donations or time, he gave generously with a cheerful smile.
Now he said, ‘I have nothing and so, can give nothing. It is so hard to be here’. He spoke for some length about his feelings often with tears in his eyes. This mature man who was a provider for his family was now dependent on others. One thing about Albert was even though he was somewhat confused, he still could tell stories in only the way his generation did. Having the freedom to express his feelings, he felt comfortable and keen to listen when I spoke of how his life had changed now, and that he was still giving, but in a different way. All his money was handed over for his care, except for a small amount of pocket money. He was giving up almost all of his money which was helping to pay the wages of the care homes staff and medical professionals who in turn were dependant on him and many others to help provide for themselves and their families. He had never thought of it in this way and was very happy to be able to give in a new way.
All rights reserved © Pastoral Care Project 2001
Points for discussion/reflection
HeARTS and Minds © Being a pastoral companion
How do we think of people who are frail- burden or part of society?
What’s the difference between this story and simply visiting the elderly?
Some things to consider:
6th July, St Augustine's B91 3QE 6.15-7.15 pm Holy Hour by Candlelight
6th July Abbey Park MHA Care Home CV3 4FR Rev Pauline Warner will be offering the Evening Service
9th July Mass Cardinal Heenan Care Home, Upholland, WN8 0QR for everyone who suffers from dementia and their relatives and professional carers.
Mount St Bernard's Abbey, Coalville,will pray for the work of the Pastoral Care Project, and everyone who suffers from dementia and those who care for them.
please email us of your prayer commitment and we can post here so people can benefit from .
Pebbles on the Beach © was written by Michael Cauchi for the Pastoral Care Project 2010.
Michael wrote many poems throughout his life, but in later life as he cared for his wife who was suffering from dementia he had little time or inclination; until he was introduced to the Pastoral Care Project, there he found solace and in his own words ‘spirit bright’.
It was his openness to sharing and caring, and his natural ability to write poetry which gave him a new way of expressing what was happening to his wife, whom he loved dearly, and himself in this stage of life and love - a love rooted in his love of God. He was introduced to our Quiet Days for Carers ©. There he met carers who also welcomed his wife, as she came along to some of the days.
We are privileged to have known Michael who after his wife’s passing said ‘can I stay with the Pastoral Care Project – what can I do’? He stayed as a volunteer, and often gave talks, school assemblies and leading Services of Remembrances, which were close to his heart from serving in the Air Force 1939-45. Finally, he became a charity trustee until his passing and joining his wife in eternity. There are many references to Michael in the annual reports on this website. He really did care and share the Father’s Love in a myriad of ways; theological, humour and generous with his talents and time.
if you would like to post this poem please follow the social media link below.
Should you wish to use it for your resources the following credit line must appear:
Pebbles on the Beach © Copyright Pastoral Care Project Charity No. 1094766. All rights reserved.
Read Pebbles on the Beach (PDF 203 kb)
Monday 19th June at 6.00 pm Cardinal Heenan House Care Home, Upholland, WN8 0QR Residents, staff and relatives will be joining in Mass celebrated by Fr Stephen Beale SDP.
Fr Stephen is also a trustee of this charity, and made this commitment on 19th March as part of Dementia Prayer Week 2017. Each month on 19th March there will be prayers offered for the Pastoral Care Project and for everyone whose life is touched in some way by dementia. Read more.
As you may be joining in at home, with friends, or even on the public transport, and may wish to use your own familiar prayers or download the prayer image on the right to your smart phone of our original ‘The Father’s Love’ prayer written in 2009.
I understand from the number of people and parishes who contact the office that many prayers are said every day, which is often taken for granted. Why not promote the prayer and goodness rather than the often despair portrayed by the media. The media can be used positively as in the case of a friend of mine Fr Sean Coyle a Columban Missionary and former trustee, now in the Philippines, who sent a link to this article.
Let us encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11) by creating opportunities for greater involvement in connecting with the person who suffers from dementia and the relatives who care for them – often struggling coming to terms with ongoing loss. Let us also connect with others sharing a similar vision of care and compassion.
Would you consider having a ‘gather and pray’ once a month on a different date to the above, or dedicate an existing event; please get in touch via the contact link or message me via social media links below or call the office Wednesdays or Thursdays on 01675 434035.
Please share this invitation with family and friends by email or click on the links below.
This desire to ‘gather and pray’ came about from preparing resources for Dementia Prayer Week 12-19th March just gone, and it is so wonderful to see the response.
Prayers will be offered on the following dates for people everywhere who suffer from dementia and those who have responsibility for their care. You are invited to join in where you are, and please share this invitation with family and friends.
Friday 19th May at 10.00 am Cardinal Heenan House Care Home, Upholland, WN8 0QR
Residents, staff and relatives will be joining in Mass - all are welcome. Fr Stephen Beale SDP committed to this initiative on 19th March and will be offering Mass on 19th of each month.
Sunday 21st May Abbey Park MHA Care Home CV3 4FR Sunday Evening Service - all are invited. Rev Pauline Warner will be offering the Evening Service on the third Sunday of each month.
These practical ways of supporting and welcoming the community come about in the lead up to Dementia Prayer Week 12-19th March 2017 an initiative which was created by the Pastoral Care Project from responding to the residents wishes in a care home on 19th March 2008. However, Dementia Prayer Week is not an end in itself but to raise awareness and to inspire others.
As a care organisation, church or project would you like to join in this initiative and be willing to commit to monthly prayer where all are welcome?
Perhaps you do so already. Posting you event here others could draw strength and comfort knowing that there are opportunities nearby where they can join.
We wish to acknowledge the regular prayer support given by so many individuals, parishes and schools over the years. It is wonderful meeting people who tell us that they pray the dementia prayer every day.
To contact us please use the contact form and we will post your event so others can join in or we can provide resources.
Do you remember Joyce’s Prayer which we published before Dementia Prayer Week? Like to read it again? Just click here.
The response to Dementia Prayer Week in March 12th-19th 2017 is very encouraging. our thanks to those who have responded to our appeal by choosing the Pastoral Care Project as one of their Lenten charities, to the parishes who have committed to having a parish collection and those who have organising coffee mornings.
Please download the Official Resource Pack and order Prayer cards via our shop. Please click here for the official logo which should appear on all services and events.
If you are new to Dementia Prayer Week and wondering what it is about and how to get involved, please do get in touch with Frances or Maria in the office firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us 01675 434035.
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Thank you to Our Lady of the Angels Toddler Group Nuneaton for donating £50.00 to the Pastoral Care Project during Dementia Prayer Week 12-19th March 2017.