Serving the Underserved: Caring for People Who Are Both Old and Mentally Retarded: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Mary C. Howell; Deirdre G. Gavin et al. | Go to book overview
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There are no barriers to spirituality. We are all spiritual people, just by the fact that we walk this Earth. To be a person with mental retardation does not stop that from happening. Also, to be old is not to stop being spiritual; it is merely to describe it in another way.

To be part of this secular service network is both a great opportunity and a great risk. It is a great risk because it is difficult to do without caring. It is a great opportunity because of the growth that can happen both inside and outside of boundaries. It is the challenge of seeing with the heart, for it is only with the heart that one can see clearly.


46
DYSFUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR AND INTERVENTIONS

Arianna Fucini

Aging inevitably undermines our physical and intellectual strength. Generally there is a decrease in mobility, in visual and auditory perception, and in the ability to recall quickly the names of objects. There is a generic slowing of physiological and physical functions. For some people with mental retardation, the aging process may bring an increased number of disabilities to deal with. For others, it means simply an increase in the intensity of disabilities that were first exhibited at a younger age.

What is the response of the aging person to the experience of the physical decline? The most common one is refusal to accept the inevitable reality. In people with mental retardation such refusals often manifest themselves behaviorally, i.e., refusal to wear dentures, a hearing aid or glasses; resistance to using a wheelchair at some social events; or denial of lapses of memory.

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