I’m going to get up on my soapbox in this blog, so prepare yourself as I don’t normally do this! My mother passed away on 15 January at Footscray hospital after contracting sepsis, so this is a bit of a story of the process and how that relates to anxiety (I know you’re wondering). Hang in there, it will all make sense.
But I must tell the story first...
My mum had a tendency to get UTIs (urinary tract infections). She'd been pretty good for some time but it had recently re-occurred, around November last year. The problem was getting a urine sample to diagnose the UTI and then getting the antibiotics into her. The nurses would ask her to wee but she couldn’t because she didn’t drink very much. So they would leave a bowl in the toilet to collect the samples, which she would remove. So getting the test done and then the solution would take time. For this particular bout, she finally got the antibiotics and came good; however, I don’t know that she was ever quite the same and I’m wondering if it was still lurking. One of the indicators was she would fall over and was unusually tired, more so than normal and didn't want to see anyone, talk to anyone or eat very much. This was happening again after Christmas.
Unfortunately, that’s what led to her demise. An undiagnosed UTI lead to a rampaging infection that affected her bodily organs, which then shut down.
The problem is a lack of staff and a lack of funding to aged care facilities plus the medical sector is in dire straits (as you would know if you watch the news on any given week).
How on earth does this relate to anxiety? Please, let me explain...
What is anxiety? Well, it’s really just the modern term for fear (which is the biblical term). We are told unequivocally in the Bible, not to fear. I think it’s up to around 500 times that it's mentioned, so this is a key for us. A key directive from God to us don’t you think? So in this series I’m going to talk about fear/ anxiety and each week an intervention to this epidemic of mass proportions. More, I believe, than in any Covid pandemic. Fear promotes anxiety, which promotes stress which affects both your physical and mental health and subsequent further relational issues.
What can be done? Well I’m going to give you some suggestions.
And the first one will relate to the aged care sector.
We have a problem in our community about how to look after our elderly. There are more and more people moving into aged care now the baby boomers are coming of age.
You may not be a baby boomer but you probably have a parent or a grandparent who is, so they are going to be a big burden on you and on all of us. The financials are going to tell the story. There will be less to go around and more pressure on health care and aged care.
One answer to worry and fear is altruism or generosity. When we look after others and when we give to others, our own worries seem to fade into the background. When we are busy, our mind is active on something else or someone else and not just thinking about ourselves. It’s incredibly therapeutic. It's very healthy and good for us to give to others. So how can we give to others in terms of the aged care sector? We can give of our time, that’s what we can do! The aged care sector needs people – the employment market is struggling to find people to fill the needs, but everybody and anybody has half an hour or an hour or if you are a 'boomer' and retired, perhaps even a day, to give to the elderly, to spend some time sitting with some elderly people. Perhaps someone sitting with my mother or another person like her, to remind her when she’s going to the toilet, to leave the tray in the toilet bowl, saying something like, ‘you’re not too well and we need to take a sample’. If someone had been there reminding my mother, she might have gotten the antibiotics earlier and might still be here. The nurses and care staff are just too busy to do that. They have much to do in a very challenging work environment already. The few volunteers in the aged care sector are so well rewarded for all their time and efforts.
So what does God say about all of this? How about, ‘It’s more blessed to give than to receive’ or ‘as you sow, so shall you reap,’ even 100 times what you give, might be the return!
How awesome a thought, that there would be someone looking after you or me when we’re old and grey(er).
Volunteers can change the status quo in the aged care sector. They can give and receive so much more. They can bring happiness to others and I can guarantee you, happiness to themselves in abundance. You and I can live longer as a consequence with much better health as a result. This intervention will stop the negative round and round thinking about one’s own problems more and start living better.
I volunteered at my mother’s nursing home before Covid, dancing with the elderly people and they just loved it (to Christian music of course - spreading the Word). What a harvest is sitting in those places. We just need a few workers to go out! A much better option than sitting at home, miserably worrying about whatever it is you are worrying about.
Prayerfully consider volunteering at an age care facility near you. Take in your animal or write a letter or send a card. Do whatever the Lord leads you to do, because no matter how small, it’s going to make a difference to your life and impact other lives significantly.
That is intervention number 1. Altruism is God’s generosity through you.
It's totally awesome and it absolutely works.
Love and Blessings
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