This section looks at the normal aging process.
Many people are entering a stage of their lives in which they are experiencing a loss of abilities and an increase in vulnerability.* L’Arche believes that every human life has value and that each person has something to contribute at every stage of their life. This contribution is directly linked to their quality of life.
As we struggle to adjust to our own dependency and loss, we can learn much from those who have faced these very issues.
*Current trends in the Canadian population indicate that by the year 2056 the number of those 65 years and older will double to 1 in 4. The proportion of those 80 years and older will triple to 1 in 10 (Statistics Canada: Canadian Social Trends; catalogue no. 11-008-X, October 21st, 2008).
A quote of Mother Theresa’s kept coming to me, which was, “look around in your own community and you will find people who need a helping hand.” Little did I know the impact it would have on my life.
Life review work is recognized by gerontologists as an important aspect of aging well. It needs to be done sensitively, and only when a person is ready. Some people have painful periods in their past that they do not wish to touch on. This is fine. Preparing a life story book can give an opportunity to review, integrate and savour many past moments. To help a person with a developmental disability prepare his or her life story book can be a great privilege, as enriching for the helper as for the person helped. The book should be a celebration of special relationships, events and milestones in a person’s life and should lift up the person’s gifts and goodness. A simple method…
The topic of aging is a very timely and important one for us in L’Arche as it is for society as a whole.
Today in L’Arche more than fifty percent of the thousand individuals with developmental disabilities that we support in communities across Canada are now over the age of forty.
We want to continue to provide care that is person centered, of high quality and focused on relationships. Each person, situation is unique.
This PowerPoint will provide a general overview of some normal changes that may occur in aging and how to support people through these changes. It can be used as a tool within teams to train and to reflect upon better means of supporting people at this stage of life.
Health Canada: (English and French)
In the section on health promotion:
In the section on food and nutrition: (English and French)
University of Montreal (English and French)
Scottish Down’s Syndrome Association: (English only)
The ARC web-site (English only)
Aging: The Fulfillment of Life (Henri Nouwen and W. Gaffney) ISBN 0-385-00918-6