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Personal visits are gifts to the sick and shut in

Updated on July 29, 2013

Sick and shut in

Elderly people need love and respect

Over the years, after my mother passed away, I have felt the need to visit elderly relatives and friends who were ill and not receiving many visitors. Watching my mother progress through Alzheimer’s, I learned how important it is to show love and respect for elder loved ones.

Grace for the journey

As I made the return from my bi-weekly visit to see Jean, I thanked God for another safe trip. My car is old but it gives me no problems. I've found that Sunday morning is the best time to drive to LA. It is a blessing to see Jean and braid her hair. She always wore it short. It is now below her shoulders and silvery gray.

I touched Sheila on the shoulder and spoke to her. When my mother was ill with Alzheimers, I learned how important it is to call the names of elderly people as you care for them. When I say, "Hi Sheila!", she gives me a big wide grin.

I thank God for the grace to make the journey!


Remembering Jean

Every other week I travel to Los Angeles to visit my friend, Jean, and braid her hair. She is 23 years older than I am and has been a great friend and mentor for more than thirty years. The last time I saw Jean before her commitment to a board and care facility was at her home. I realized that something was different because she was not her talkative self. When I left her house, I told her I would come to see her soon. The next time I saw her Jean was in a board and care facility. A passerby saw her sitting in her car at a gas station in obvious need of medical care. She had had a stroke.

Jean’s health has declined significantly since her commitment to board and care. She was able to walk when I first visited. Over time she fell out of bed and had surgery on her femur. Last year she had a stroke. During the summer I realized that she no longer remembers me. One lady asked why I still go to visit if Jean doesn’t remember me. My response was, “I remember her.”

Care and compassion

Make friends while you visit

Last Sunday as I braided Jean’s hair I noticed another resident, Sheila, crying in front of the television. Sheila is a new resident. I walked over to her and talked to her softly about the future. She smiled and stopped crying, at least for a while. Sheila was being attended by a caregiver when I left. I don’t know how many visitors she will have but she will have at least one … me.

The cost of a visit

Is there someone who needs a visit from you

For months on end no one, other than me, signs the guest register for Jean. I will continue to visit her as long as I am able to make the drive. I will also visit Sheila. Every confined person needs to have visitors. Please visit elderly, sick and shut in relatives and friends. If possible, befriend and encourage others. We all need to know that someone cares.

February 10, 2013 visit

I went to visit my friend this morning and am really concerned. When a facility smells like urine, there is a problem. I don't know how to get in touch with my friend's family but doubt that contacting them would help. Because I live so far away and can't visit every day, I am afraid to say something about the odor. What should I do?

Visiting the sick

Is there someone you need to visit in a nursing home or board and care?

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Personal visits are gifts to the sick and shut in

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    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      My parents died before they became old, sick, or in a nursing home. As you probably know at this point in time I am on disability. But, I have been accepted in the Ticket To Work Program. I have also been accepted to be able to make my nursing license to become active again. One of the things I have asked God for, is to let me work in a nursing home for the elderly.

      Thank you for writing such a wonderful hub

      God bless you.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      God bless you too Michele. I will add the specifics about your work desires to my prayers. The elderly people really need to know we care.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Beautiful hub Diane,

      I do not do enough. I shall fix that starting today. I was (suppose still am) A LEMII, Lay Eucharist Minister 2. Our job was to take the Eucharist and gospel out to shut ins. I will get back on track for that. I guess I got sidetracked with preaching. Thank you for being an angel.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you Diane, your prayers mean so much to me.

      You know you are my sister in Christ, because God made all of use.

      God bless you.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Eric, those short visits mean so much to those who are ill. It is also a testimony for the church.

      You are so welcome Michele. I am blessed to fellowship with you on the Internet. God always makes a way.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      The very breath of life is within the least of us. Let them not be unseen in our eyes. Let us raise them up and give them all that is good within us. We shall walk in their shoes and know their fears and we shall present them to heaven as gifts. And who shall ever minister to the least of these, let them know they minister to Christ himself.

      Sister Diane you raise me up.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Be blessed Brother Eric. Keep serving communion.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I very much agree Dianne. My mother had Alzheimer's and in her later years she never recognized the family whenever anyone visited. But she always did have a smile on her face whenever anyone visited. That sure was a big bonus.

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Honoring our parents is a blessing. Thank you rajan!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Today I give thanks to them.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Eric!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      And to all those in our world that give refuge to those who need it.

      Thanks sister.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      This hub brings tears to my eyes because my father was in a retirement home at the young age of 63 when he died. He didn't remember me but certainly remember and loved him. I visited and still think of him everyday. You are a shining example of compassion.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Express you would think the normal thing to do is go visit; however, people go on with their lives as if their loved one has already passes away. 63 is such a young age. I'm sure hearing your voice and seeing you brought back wonderful memories.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      It was the exact opposite for me. My world stopped as his was coming to an end. I took a total of about two months off from work to spend as much time as I could with him. I am a single lady with no kids and easily made time especially with the okay from my employer. I guess I understand how people with spouses and children would have difficulty. But that certainly doesn't mean that shut-in's should be ever be shut out of the lives of their loved ones. In fact, I would say that if anything, it helps them and their quality of life.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      I am praying that two people will be alive long enough for me to care for them after I retire in a few years. One is 79 and the other is 80. Until then I keep in touch and try to help long distance. It is good when an employer understands the family needs. This situation arises for most people at one time or another.

    • expertscolumn profile image

      Stanley Soman 4 years ago from New York

      Amen, that's a bad thought to be sick and shutin, no one should experience that. I believe isolation at that age is not healthy, we need to be singing and laughing all the way home

      God bless

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Expert, when I visited my friend Sunday, her caregiver thanked me for faithfully coming to help her. No one from her family visits her. She had several closets full of clothes. Now she has nothing. When I am unable to care for myself, I pray that the Lord will take me quickly; however, He knows the plans He has for me.

    • blessed1234 profile image

      blessed1234 4 years ago

      very well said, I really like this hub.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Thank you blessed!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I revisit again to stress the truth of this hub. This notion is critical. I want to plead to your readers, not only the shut ins need your visit, but the shut outs also. They are easy to visit they are on the streets.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Amen Eric! People need to hear it often and from many people.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      The kind of visits you write about are extremely difficult for some of us - something we shy away from. We think we won't know what to say or do. But your hub is a great inspiration that just being willing to be there for someone can be real ministry. Thanks!

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Hi Ron, Usually you don't have to say much. My friend doesn't seem to remember me; however, her face lights up when I walk in. When I say "Hello Jean," she seems to delight in hearing her name. I talk about things we share before. She taught music and encouraged me to teach music. I talk about the kids, the music, crazy administrators, and anecdotal situations. Visits don't have to be long. God bless you Ron!

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Good morning, Diane. :-) I'm so sorry about your mother having to suffer from Alzheimers.

      Ever since my girls (3 of them) were little, we had our own little ministry of visiting the assisted living home near our home. We didn't know anyone there to begin, and I'm sure the residents there were happy to have us come to sing, watch "The Gaithers" singing videos with them, provide crafts, and even share dialogue with them. But, we were blessed beyond belief with making friends with them.

      Fast forward more than a decade later, and no one would ever imagine that my eldest daughter (who is now 25) would be living in a rest home. She has been there for four years now. Though I had not understood for a long time why God would allow such a beautiful and young woman to suffer ailments to where she needs 24 hour care, I know that His plans are not always for me to understand. However, I can see now that she may not have been as comfortable as she is, if we would not have visited the home we did while she was growing up. Now she can minister to the sick and elderly full-time.

      Blessings to you, Diane, for making us more aware. :-)

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 3 years ago from Fontana

      And blessings to your Abby. I am sorry that your daughter is in a rest home. May God continue to strengthen you and your other family members as you visit her as often as possible and continue to love her from a distance. I think the worse part of the visits for me was saying goodbye. On January 19, 2010, my mother's eyes followed me and met mine as I walked out the door. That was the last time I saw her alive on this earth. BUT one day ....

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Yes, Diane... one day! It will be a GLORIOUS day, my friend! :-)

    • profile image

      Gavin Brown 3 years ago

      Thank-you so much for this post.

      I too think that care and love and grace is necessary for being with elders.

      Thank-you for your story.

      Gavin

      www.elderlycareshine.com

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 3 years ago from Fontana

      Thank you Gavin! I just went to your site. I am reading the comments and will share my thoughts. God knows our hearts.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

      This is wonderful of you Diane and we do all need to visit nursing homes and these elder care facilities as often as we can and especially around holidays I think and yes while we are visiting one why not try to find one more each time to just pat and say hello to. It can be upsetting but once we realize what a few kind words can do as you did, it is worth a little discomfort on our part and after all, we get to go home.

      Sharing.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 12 months ago from Fontana

      Thank you Jackie! When my mother was in a nursing home in Little Rock, the psychiatrist called me to tell me that my mother's condition was worsening because no one was coming to see her. I have 3 sisters in Little Rock. When I would go home I would see that I was the last person to visit. I immediately made reservations for my mom to come to live with me. I hadn't figured out the details but I couldn't let my mother stay there. I know there are many similar stories.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

      That happened to my mom. I tried to take her back actually but she couldn't walk and I just could not handle her (have just days ago had my 2nd surgery on my spine) and a brother and my sister said let her come to a nursing facility near them and there would be someone visiting her every day. That never happened and I was in touch with the home almost constantly and of course went when I could but never did a family member go see their mother just minutes from them. Why they lied I can only guess. It is like it was still today when I think about her there all those months with only me coming every couple months. I went daily when she was near me. Hard to figure people out, guess there is no use to try.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 12 months ago from Fontana

      Unfortunately, greed was my family's problem. I noticed exorbitant charges on my mother's credit cards and she couldn't afford to by her many expensive medications. She, who was once lively, was lethargic and emotional. There were burn marks on the wood where she tried to light the stove. I knew something was wrong, took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with Alzheimers. I had to hire an attorney to become her guardian. Families, who generally don't work, can get really greedy when it comes to parents' money. That's sanother hard and lengthy subject.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I know and it is so sad when kids do this and I have enough horror stories to fill a book. When she died the brother who had been put in charge of her funeral and been paid many times over for it was on vacation in another country and would not come home to bury her until he was good and ready. More than two weeks after she died. Now maybe that is no big deal to many people but it was a horror story to me and also knowing none of Mom's burial requests were honored. Simple things totally ignored.

      I am so sorry for things I could not foresee and could have prevented but I am so happy I loved my mother so deeply and while she was with me I gave her health and happiness to the best of my ability and she was very happy with me and I know she felt safe and at doctors she would always pat my hands and tell them how good I was to her. Those are the beautiful memories that get me through.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 12 months ago from Fontana

      It's good that we have our memories and we honored our mothers. I'm sure your mother felt comfort in your love. God rewards the faithful in following his commands. Honor thy father and thy mother is very important. I'm finding there is usually one in the family that the parent can count on. It is a blessing to be that faithful one.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

      It is a very giving decision as I am sure you know but one of no choice if we love them. Glad to know another loving daughter, Diane, my sister in Christ.

    • dianetrotter profile image
      Author

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 12 months ago from Fontana

      Yes it it good to know another loving daughter. I could feel your testimony as I read the words.

      Yes, my sister, it is a blessing to know you.

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