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Summary: MOST OF THE CHANGES WE SHALL SEE IN LIFE WILL HAPPEN IN OUR SENIOR YEARS. MANY WILL NOT BE PLEASANT AND WILL BRING ABOUT A MIXED BAG OF RESPONSES, HOW DO WE MINISTER TO THOSE WITH DIMENTIA AND ALSHEIMERS AND THEIR FAMILIES?

ISSUES IN AGING: PART II

ROMANS 12:9-18

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO CONCLUDE OUR SERIES ON ISSUES IN AGING, BY LOOKING AT THE CHALLENGES THAT WE WILL FACE, IF WE HAVEN’T ALREADY, AS WE GROW OLDER.

ONE PERSON I READ COMPARED OUR SENIOR YEARS TO THE FOURTH QUARTER OF A FOOTBALL GAME. YOU COULD PROBABLY SAY TO THE FINAL PART OF ANY SPORTING EVENT, BUT WE’LL STAY WITH FOOTBALL.

IN THE FOURTH QUARTER ONE OF TWO THINGS WILL BE EVIDENT. IF THE GAME IS A ONE-SIDED BLOWOUT PEOPLE WILL REACT WITH RESIGNATION. YOU WILL SEE THEM LEAVE THE STADIUM IN DROVES. PLAYERS WILL HAVE THEIR HEADS DOWN. THE END IS KNOWN BEFORE THE FINAL WHISTLE GOES.

IF THE GAME IS CLOSE, THEN YOU WILL SEE MUCH ACTION TAKE PLACE. COACHES WILL PLAN STRATEGIES, TIME OUTS TAKEN APPROPRIATELY. THERE WILL BE NERVOUS ANTICIPATION ON THE PART OF THE PLAYERS. EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE TO WIN WILL BE DONE BEFORE THE FINAL WHISTLE.

THE SAME IS TRUE AS WE AGE. MOST OF THE CHANGES WE SHALL SEE IN LIFE WILL HAPPEN IN OUR SENIOR YEARS. MANY WILL NOT BE PLEASANT AND WILL BRING ABOUT A MIXED BAG OF RESPONSES, WHICH WE MAY QUESTION AT TIMES AS TO THEIR APPROPRIATENESS ESPECIALLY FOR CHRISTIANS.

THE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE AS WE GROW OLDER WILL FALL FOR THE MOST PART INTO TWO GROUPS: 1. PHYSICAL CHALLENGES

2. EMOTIONAL RESPONSES TO THOSE CHALLENGES

PEOPLE MAY HAVE OTHER GROUPINGS BUT AS I SEE IT MOST OF THE CHALLENGES WE WILL FACE WILL FALL INTO THESE TWO AREAS. I BELIEVE THAT AS WE BECOME MORE AWARE OF THESE AREAS, WE WILL BE IN A BETTER POSITION TO MINISTER TO THEM.

POINT ONE: WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “PHYSICAL CHANGES?”

THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES WE WILL ALWAYS FACE PHSYICAL CHALLENGES. WHEN WE ARE IN OUR EARLY YEARS, WE VIEW THESE CHALLENGES AS STEPPING STONES TO INDEPENDENCE AND ADULTHOOD. IN OUR SENIOR YEARS THOUGH, THESE CHANGES ARE VIEWED AS STEPPING STONES TOWARD DEPENDANCE ON OTHERS AND EVER-PRESENT REMINDERS OF OUR OWN MORTALITY.

IF WE COULD VIEW OUR LIFE SPAN ON A CURVE, OUR EARLY YEARS WOULD BE CONSTANTLY GOING UP TOWARDS INDEPENDANCE. AS WE ADVANCE INTO OUR SENIOR YEARS, WE DESCEND THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CURVE TOWARDS PERSONAL DEPENDANCE ON OTHERS.

PHYSICAL CHALLENGES CAN INCLUDE: 1. CHANGES TO OUR BODIES

2. CHANGES IN OUR LIVING CIRCUMSTANCES

3. DEATH OF FRIENDS OR SPOUCE.

4. OUR OWN DEATH.

CHANGES TO OUR BODIES CAN TAKE MANY FORMS, FROM INCREASED ACHES AND PAINS, TO ALSHEIMERS. THEY CAN BE THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN OUR LIVING CIRCUMSTANCES, AS WE FIND WE CAN NO LONGER TAKE THE KIND OF CARE WE WANT TO OUR PROPERTY, OR LIVING IN OUR PRESENT PLACE BECOMES A HEALTH CONCERN.

AS WE ADVANCE IN AGE OUR MORTALITY BECOMES EVER-MORE PRESENT. AS WE CHECK THE OBITUARIES, AND WE SEE THE NAMES OF PEOPLE WE GREW UP WITH ON A MORE FREQUENT BASIS WE BECOME MORE AND MORE AWARE THAT OUR TIME IN THIS WORLD IS GROWING SHORTER.

DEATH IS NEVER SUBTLE. IT RIPS AND TEARS AT INDIVIDUALS INDESCRIMINATELY. IT HAS NO MERCY. THE DEATH OF A SPOUCE FOREVER CHANGES OUR LIVES. FINALLY WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH OUR OWN DEATH.

NOW I KNOW THAT I’VE JUST PAINTED A BLEAK PICTURE OF LIFE. BUT I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THERE WOULD BE FEW WHO WOULD CHALLENGE ME ON THESE FACTS. BY ACKNOWLEGING THEM WE CAN ALSO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF MINISTERING TO THESE NEEDS.

POINT TWO: EMOTIONAL RESPONSES TO THESE PHYSICAL CHANGES.

THERE CAN BE A WIDE RANGE OF EMOTIONS THAT HAVE TO BE DEALT WITH WHEN MINISTERING TO SENIORS AND THE FAMILIES OF SENIORS. EMOTIONAL RESPONSES CAN RANGE FROM: ANGER

FRUSTRATION

DEPRESSION

FEAR

LONLINESS

RELEASE

GUILT

GRIEF

HAPPINESS

JUST TO NAME A FEW.

THE IMPORTANT THING TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT SATAN CAN AND WILL TRY TO MANIPULATE YOUR FEELINGS, IN AN ATTEMPT TO DESTROY YOU.

1 PETER 5:8:

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

WHEN WE’RE CALLED ON TO LOOK AFTER A LOVED ONE FOR A PRO-LONGED PERIOD OF TIME, WE MAY FEEL EMOTIONS SUCH AS:

ANGER: BECAUSE OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS ARE NOT HELPING AS WE FEEL THEY SHOULD.

FRUSTRATION: WHEN WE HAVE TO DO THE SAME THING TIME AND AGAIN.

THESE CAN BE NATURAL FEELINGS TO HAVE FROM TIME TO TIME. WE DON’T STAY THERE LONG, BUT EVERY ONCE AND AWHILE THEY ARE THERE.

SATAN THEN WILL ADD THE EMOTION OF GUILT BRINGING THOUGHTS LIKE “ YOU’RE A BAD LOVED ONE FOR FEELING LIKE THIS”. THE FEELING OF GUILT WILL STAY WITH US A LONG TIME AFTER THE INCIDENT. AND THAT IS WHAT SATAN WANTS. HE WANTS US TO CARRY BURDENS, THAT IN REALITY ARE MOMENTARY IN NATURE.

WHEN MY DAD DIED, HE WAS IN THE FREDERICTON HOSPITAL. HE WAS THERE FOR TWO WEEKS AND WE DROVE EVERY DAY TO BE WITH HIM. LOOKING BACK I THINK THE LAST DAYS IT WAS MORE FOR US THAN HIM. THE LAST NIGHT I REMEMBER MY SISTER ASKING IF I WAS GLAD THAT I CAME THAT NIGHT, AS IF SHE KNEW SOMETHING WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. I SAID I WAS. HE DIED LATER THAT NIGHT.

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