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

companionship is very much appreciated at this threshold, and that touch and voice are, at the end, your best means of reassurance that you are there, loving and keeping vigil.

Giving care in a hospice setting almost always arouses old griefs of our own. We need to be ready for these, and to give ourselves time to attend to them, both for ourselves and for the sake of the person we are giving care to.

The experience of working in a hospice setting is rich, profound, and extraordinary, like no other kind of work. Hospice care is part of the panoply that we recommend be available to our clients who are both mentally retarded and old.


61
FULFILLING THE SPIRITUAL AND FAITH NEEDS OF MENTALLY RETARDED PERSONS IN A HOSPICE UNIT

Henry A. Marquardt

For people who have moved to a hospice unit, there should be a regular schedule of ongoing religious services, either weekly or bi-weekly. The clergyperson should not appear only when a death has taken place or for a memorial service. It would not take the clients long to say "Here he comes, who died this time?"

Religious services can contribute a very positive force to the clients. Services bring joy, celebration, and strength into their lives. The clergyperson can present a loving image of God and dispel the image of the God of judgment with which most clients were reared. During the service, he can recognize and support the various stages of grieving

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