Guest Post: Caring Pays by Lynn Wallace

caregiving, dementia

Mom loved to read. As a child, she hid a flashlight under the covers. This subterfuge failed to fool Mama. She walked into the room and said, “It’s time to go to bed.”
Mom collected many books that she planned to read when she retired. When Mom’s Papa died, Mama moved in with her. That left little time for reading.
Before Mom died, Dad’s health began failing from emphysema. Sometime later, she started caring for Dad, bathing him and taking care of his other needs.
By the time Dad died, macular degeneration had attacked Mom’s eyesight. She never lost her love of reading, but she gave away many books as she could not read them for herself. 
In 1996 or 1997 Mom began suffering a series of mini-strokes. Until 1998 when she suffered a medium stroke, she lived alone.
Then I moved in with Mom and became “her eyes.” I dialed numbers on the telephone, answered calls, ran her errands, and drove her to the doctor’s office. She looked forward to our times together. Chatting became difficult with her failing memory.
To Mom, I was “Aunt Dorothy,” her sister. They slept in the same room and did things together when young girls. In Mom’s mind I knew all about their activities as she thought, I was there.
We tried the “talking books,” but they became difficult for her to follow. Instead, she enjoyed my reading to her. Mostly, we read some fun things and Christian novels together. When necessary, I filled in the threads.
Because of her failing eyesight, and inability to do the things she used to love doing, the time hung heavy. She sighed and complained. Her eyes no longer sparkled.
My heart wanted to share the Bible with her. At times she was open to this, but at times she did not want to hear it.
Lorraine, one of the caregivers, became concerned about Mom. She cared about her health, her physical needs, but most of all for her soul.
Psalm 23 was Mom’s favorite Scripture. Before she retired for the night, we recited, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”
The caregiver used this passage to point Mom to the Saviour. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” she quoted. “He’s not your Shepherd,” she said, “if you haven’t received Him as your Saviour.” She shared the gospel message with her. At ninety-seven Mom embraced this Saviour as her own. Now He was truly her Shepherd. Her attitudes changed. Now she thirsted for the Bible whenever I found time to read to her. A few months later the Good Shepherd took her home.
God uses caregivers. Though you may not be a caregiver who takes care of the elderly or disabled, you can show others you care. Read to them, make them cookies, or bring them a bouquet of flowers. Little caring acts may soften their hearts to the Saviour.
Do you show little acts of kindness that say you care?

Lynn Wallace

Bio: Lynn & her late husband, Leon Wallace served several years as missionaries to the Navajo Indians. She loves to watch deer and birds from her place. She has 2 published books. Our Lifeship:: A Study in Proverbs for Women helps troubled women sail calmly on life’s rough seas. Do Kangaroos Carry Platypuses? shows God’s design of several anmimals and uses techniques that appeal to children. It is out of print and she seeks another publisher.

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