Purpose in life ...... is it important?

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Gizzy'n me
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Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1870
   Posted 6/24/2013 11:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello .........
In my opinion, YOU BET IT IS!!!
  The question or statement of need of a purpose in life - just came from reading a thread by MT Lady with a reply by Bella33. Rather than continuing that thread (which was going in a slightly different direction at that point), I decided to start a new thread!
  All I can do is imagine that the need for someone like my Mother, a severe dimentia patient, still needs a purpose in life ... but either may not realize it, or more than likely cannot communicate that need.
  On Saturday, I was over to see her. We talked for a little while - she asked me how I was doing - if my youngest daughter was married yet - and when will she be able to go home. I checked their weekly schedule on the display board, and told her in a half hour, it's time for Bingo! That brought a little glimmer in her eyes!
  Once the Bingo game started, I sat in at the table she was at - just to look and listen. Very interesting - the facility had a different type of bingo card. Instead of numbers on the card, there were drawings of articles of clothing. So ... the point was for the patient to recognize the article of clothing, then put the marker on that square (in typical bingo fashion).
  I watched and noticed that my Mother missed 4 different articles of clothing in just one game. All of the patients seemed to be having difficulties - so the observent facilitator changed back to original type of bingo cards for the next game. In that game, Mom got every one - and got them quickly! It was a wise choice by this young facilitator (about 30-years old).
  I think the point was - the more difficult or challenging game was started - a game that makes you think a bit - and either because of the time of day (mid-afternoon), the temperature of the room (many complaints about it being too cold) or ???? ..... the game was changed to a more recognizable form. Holding everyones interest was most important and was done with the simpler game.
  In a very small way, maintaining interests within a dimentia patient is helping to maintain a purpose in life ... for someone who has lost almost everything ... even if it's only a Bingo game.
  I look back now, in my own personal life, and find that a "sense of purpose" is incredibly important ... maybe the most important thing left for me to save - as I am battling cancer myself. When I had to stop working two years ago, it is when I began to realize just how important a sense of purpose was. For those that we love, who cannot use their mind in any logical manner, I have to believe that a "sense of purpose" is one of their strongest needs!
How do you feel?

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 6/24/2013 6:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Gizzy'n me.
In the beginning of the years I took care of my mother, there was so much to do because everything had gone to pot after my dad died, so I was just getting things back in shape. Mom never said anything about it, but then one day she was just sitting in her chair fiddling with her 'stuff,' and out of the blue, and to no one in particular, I heard her say, "I feel so useless."
After that I involved her in a lot of what I was doing, and let her just do as much as she was able to do. She loved it, and while we worked, we talked and laughed together.
I'm with you. I believe everyone needs a purpose to their lives or they just give up and fade away. There isn't any way to measure how anyone feels about the purpose of lack of it in their lives, and many aren't in any position to express how they feel about it.
What you said about several of the people with your mother complaining that it was cold struck me. After my mother broke her hip and had to be in the nursing home, I'd found her one day sitting in the hall with many others in there wheel chairs when I'd gone to be with her, and they'd all seem to be sleeping. None of them had covers of any kind on their laps, and none had sweaters on. When I stopped by her chair she looked up at me, and I knew she hadn't been asleep. I asked her if she was cold, and she said, "YES!" I had the feeling this was the way the residents were kept under a kind of control.

Gizzy'n me
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1870
   Posted 6/25/2013 10:36 AM (GMT -6)   
To Wilmey .....
  I hope "control of he patients" was not the plan of the "cold" facility! Nursing homes do tend to have a reputation of being under-staffed - so hopefully, that was a temporary situation.
  Your trial of involving your Mother with small daily chores or other things seems to have done a lot of good - and does kind of justify the NEED of a sense of purpose - even in someone afflicted with dimentia.
Thanks ... and best wishes!

Gizzy'n me
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1870
   Posted 8/13/2013 9:34 AM (GMT -6)   
It's been 6-weeks .............
   That is, since my last post on "Purpose in life".
   Yesterday, when I was over to see Mom, a small group of 8 or 9 were outside with one facilitator. They were in what was called a book club. In reality, a three or four page short story was put together by one of the staff members I guess. And the purpose of the story was in names ... recognizeable and not! By the end of the short story, read to all by the facilitator, each person announced their middle names as an ending to the book club session.
   My Mother missed much of it because I came, but we both sat down outside close to the group ... because it was such a beautiful day out. I noticed Mom was kind of missing being a part of the group ... and she never was a joiner but more of a loner.
   I mentioned to her that there were a couple of new faces ... and she mentioned to me all about everyone - good and bad. Slowly ....... she is becoming not only comfortable there, but also feeling like she belongs there. If you will ... a new sense of purpose in life.
   And just one small thing ..... she set her watch by herself yesterday. Yes, it took a long time ... but all other times I've been there, and she's thought about time - she would ask me "would you set my watch"? She didn't ask this time. It was difficult for her - mostly because everything on the watch is so small - but she did it! And I know she felt good that she did it!!!! As small as that might be!!!! 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 8/14/2013 8:07 AM (GMT -6)   
That's awesome Gizzy -- my Mom was the same way. Never a joiner, but now she knows all the little stories of everyone (even though some are kind of tale she wove in her mind) and enjoys the group activities. So glad your Mom is feeling more comfortable, and hey, way to go with setting her watch!! Yes, she now has a new purpose! :-)
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