One of the joys and challenges of working with senior adults as I do at our church is helping them deal with the struggles of poor health and many times, the need to consider long-term care in a skilled nursing environment. I visited with a good friend yesterday who is approaching 99 at a local care center. His wife is 94. Unfortunately, he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and can no longer live in their apartment. While he does have times when his thought patterns are confused, there are days like yesterday when his thoughts are as lucid as yours or mine (well, maybe they’re more lucid than mine at times). He has been the primary caregiver for his wife for many years as she has struggled with poor health. Now, he can no longer fulfill that role and it is a terribly painful situation for each of them. She is able to visit him occasionally at the care center, but her own health prevents her from doing so frequently. Thankfully, they are at least able to talk on the phone almost every day.
After seeing him yesterday I went by to visit with her in the couple’s apartment. We had a good visit together—sharing some tears, hugs, words of comfort, and of course, prayer. Visits like these are part of what I do each week as a minister to senior adults at our church. It can be very emotionally demanding at times, but also extremely fulfilling as prayerfully those encounters bring a touch of God’s grace and encouragement into the lives of some who have little contact anymore with the outside world as their health has restricted their mobility. I’m grateful for the opportunity of ministering to some of God’s choice saints in their golden years.