I am reminded of this devotion I wrote nearly every time I am at work. It is still very common for residents to be concerned about having their meal paid for. Every time I repeat, “Your meal has been paid for,” I smile on the inside as I remember writing this devotion. I have had so many wonderful times and experiences working with people with dementia. They are constantly loving on me through words of encouragement or a gentle pat on my hand. I feel very blessed to have my job.
When people ask me how I can still be excited to work there after 6 and half years, I tell them that I believe God put me there. I will never forget a time a couple of years ago when I was questioning God about my job. I prayed and asked God if this was even where God wanted me there. The very next day I was talking to one of our residents, and she said, “God put you here for a reason.” I was amazed.
I think God has given me a gift of patience for the residents. I know they are all experiencing a horrible disease that has no cure. But they still find moments to smile and laugh and even dance. They may forget how to form correct sentences, but they still show love and concern for each other. I have seen them hold another resident’s hand when they are experiencing sadness or confusion. It isn’t uncommon for their love of humanity to shine through. Sometimes people ask me if it makes me sad to work there. Absolutely not! I see how precious life is and how much each day matters.
I am very fond of elderly people, perhaps because I was close to my grandmother and she passed away when I was 23. I have been grandparent-less since age 24 when my grandfather passed. There is something about the knowledge and wisdom that older people have that I want to be a part of. They are living books of history. Each one has a wonderful story of things they have lived through and seen. I am happy to be a part of their story. They may forget many things, but they remember the old gospel songs they grew up with and happily sing them from memory! They can remember Bible verses when they need them. I had a lady who said to me, “I feel lonely.” I couldn’t think of much to tell her except that she wasn’t alone because I was there and so were many other people. She started to walk away and then turned around and said, “God said He will never leave me or forsake me.” I was amazed. She thought of that Bible verse from Deuteronomy 31:6, and recited it when she needed it the most. She didn’t know where her room was, why she was there, and she couldn’t name her son, but she remembered a Bible verse and found comfort.
Our residents have a disease, but God is still actively working in their lives. I love that every day is different, and I am truly blessed to be where I am at this time in my life. I am hopeful that one day there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
While several strategies for reopening the world are being discussed, I encourage you—the people of God everywhere—to allow this season to be a formative one during which you can make new discoveries about God and increase your faith. Use this time to embark on a life of prayer, a life of study, and a life of action—involvement in the community.”