I had cause recently to make an appointment and go and meet a very nice lady whose Company offer help and support to elderly people as the inevitable toil of time begins to impact on loved ones who have already been through their fourscore years and ten (as the good book describes the average life expectancy). However, in todays modern world the average life expectancy is a bit higher than 58 years of age. Indeed modern projections suggests that todays generation can expect to live up to 150 years plus. That is the good news some might say, the bad news is that the last 50 years will be that they will suffer from dementia or some such illness. This means therefore that those closest to them, may need to factor that into their retirement plans.
The truth is that the ageing process can today be slowed down and the quality of life improved to a point never thought possible before. I have observed just how strong the human spirit can be having watched some people very closely pass on in the last year due to awful disease and illness. However, the truth is that what ever ailments are out there life and modern medicine are well capable of helping to prevent and cure like never before. One of the inevitable consequences of ageing is that sooner or later problems like mental health start to appear. Dementia and other similar illnesses are tough as the brain slowly losses its functionality, and the person that once you knew slowly slips away.
It is a tough and painful process to observe as the person of strength, independence, slowly become anxious, confused and inevitable incapable. Constantly trying to find glasses, keys, etc become all encompassing. Conversation becomes harder as they attempt to retrain memory in the short term. It is tough battle and sadly sooner or later the person becomes a shadow of who they were. Yes of course they are there physically but mentally and in term os who they were and their personality, they are not the same.
I have used caring agencies before with I have to say mixed success, it is my belief that people who work in the caring professions need to have very good and strong empathy and people skills. This is a role that needs kindness and professionalism where the focus is on the welfare of the person that they are caring for. To be honest I do not know if I could do it, it needs special skills and is a 24 hour role in many cases. However, it is important to remember that one thing is for sure, and that is we all grow older, day by day , week by week, year on year. And one day it will be us that might need that care and compassion that we hopefully offer to those who have gone before us.