How to cross the generation barrier

How to cross the generation barrier Sr Francis Dominici Piscatella receives Communion during a Mass marking her 110th birthday at the Dominicans’ motherhouse in Amityville April 20, 2023. Photo: OSV News

Lift Up Their Hearts: Visiting Older People, Guidelines and Resources, by Mary Threadgold RSC

(Messenger Publications, €6.95)

This little booklet presents the essence of the experience of many years that Sr Mary Threadgold has worked with patients of all kinds, especially the elderly. It falls into two parts, the first dealing with the skills to be used in befriending those who are aging or have dementia.

The second part moves beyond this practical care to these more delicate matters of spiritual care especially those that have reached their very last days. Her ideas are very supportive, and will be immensely helpful to those faced with the passing of a parent, a friend or neighbour.

Again she presents readers with her experiences and with approaches that they will find effective and rewarding: “I find in the past the things they enjoyed, music, poetry, singing songs; of the importance of allowing the free flow of what they want to remember, or they are able to remember.”

Aside from all her advice in part two, she adds in an appendix a good selection of traditional Catholic prayers. Nothing is so redolent of the past than the prayers and hymns we shared with our mother or older relatives in those long vanished days.