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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learning how to age with grace

Dr. Dennis Klima, from the department of physical therapy at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, gave a full-day workshop today on fall prevention, and coping with Alzheimer's and dementia.

About 55 Sisters and 20 Fathers and Brothers attended. It was also streamed live on Channel 15 to those who didn't want to venture out of their rooms.

After Br. Wayne, I was the second youngest at 63. Although I have yet to fall, my memory has never been all that good, so I figure this was as good a lesson as I was about to get on how to grow old gracefully.

In a way, we "younger" guys who live here at the Knoll are blessed. After all, how many "normal" people have access to 83 different examples on how to age?

I have a friend who is dealing with his aging mother. She drives him nuts. But his greatest fear is that he will be as difficult as she is.

That's when I appreciated the treasures we have here.

This perception was validated by a vocation prospect who came for the tests and interviews as part of the admissions process. He had never visited Maryknoll before, but has long felt he had a call to missionary priesthood. He was really impressed at how the residents here seemed really to enjoy each other's company. He even said to me, "That's how I want to be when I grow old." (I thought to myself, "Yeah? Stick around a few more days!")

So maybe the men here don't realize that their mission work is far from over, and how they age speaks as much to the gospel and kingdom of God as any work they did overseas.

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