Support Given To The Elderly And Disabled Volentarily

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Support given to the elderly and disabled freely by persons in the community is commendable.

Support giving is discussed by Rita, Musa and Monica while they wait in a long queue of vehicles at a service station under a heavily over cast sky. They would rather not be in this queue at all but are patient and understand the importance of people getting their hurricane supplies.

A hurricane is expected to reach land within the next two days. The prospect of a hurricane reaching land within such a short period always results in a rush to get extra hurricane supplies, including petrol and diesel for generators.

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“I am concerned for the welfare of the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women, the mentally ill, the incurably ill, those who are confined to bed because of illness, babies and very small children.”, Monica says.

She continues, “These groups are the most vulnerable among us during disasters such as hurricanes so they need our support more so than others during such disasters.””Our support can also be helpful to them when life returns to normal in the community following a natural disaster.”, Rita adds.

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“The kind of help that we can give as individuals in our community especially to the elderly and disabled can be very useful now.”, Rita says. “This is so because some of these people are being neglected or have been abandoned altogether by relatives.”, she continues.

“The healthcare and social services collectively provide modern professional health care and related assistance.”, Monica says.

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“The collective support of these services should be complemented at home by the support of individual family members.”, Rita adds. “Where such individual support is not available in the homes of our elderly and disabled, it can be provided by volunteers within the community.”, she continues.

“Our giving personal support to the elderly and disabled under normal conditions in our community is quite simple.”, Musa says.

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He gives a few simple guidelines to follow,”Care about the people we are supporting; be honest with them at all times; become friendly with them and get to know them well if they are not so well known to us; support the number of persons that we can practicably support; keep a list of the persons we are supporting in our community; and carefully record the necessary information about the persons we support such as the illnesses from which they suffer, the clinics they attend, the foods they must avoid and so on.

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Personal support we can give to the elderly and disabled within our community includes: ensuring their safety and wellness by daily visiting them in their homes; returning their phone calls; talking and listening to them; ensuring that they take meals, take their medication, keep appointments, meet basic commitments like bill payments, and access available and needed services; minimizing their transportation difficulties; and performing chores and errands for them.”

“Other points of assistance can be added to the ones identified here but these few are sufficient for us to start giving personal support to those who need it.”, Musa concludes.

By Edward Fagan

Thought: Concern For Mental Illness Patients

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Thought and action toward mentally ill persons should be without stigma.

Thought: why do we stigmatize mental illness and then in an attempt to avoid stigmatizing our relatives and friends who are suffering from mental illness, deny that they are suffering from such illness?

The answer to this question may be obvious, but would it not be better to stop stigmatizing mental illness? Would we not then be able to admit that our relatives and friends are suffering from mental illness without having to worry about the stigma of mental illness?

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We do not stigmatize diabetes, cancer, heart disease or high blood pressure. We thus do not see any need to deny that our relatives and friends suffer from these diseases. Mental illness is another disease like any other; it does not have to be stigmatized.

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Should we stop stigmatizing mental illness, this would allow us to seek professional help for our mentally ill relatives and friends at the earliest opportunity. (There would be no stigma to prevent us from admitting the presence of the disease in the early stage.) This early help could be sought without our experiencing a sense of shame due to the absence of any associated stigma. This early help should also allow the mentally ill the earliest and best chance of either recovering from their illness, or otherwise learning to live with the reality of the permanence of that illness.

By Edward Fagan

 

People And Name-calling, Stigma And Prejudice

Drifting At Sea, What An Experience

People need not be subjected to name calling, stigma and prejudicial treatment.

People and their welfare is a favourite subject of Douglas who sits peacefully on his patio with his friend David. It is a quiet Saturday afternoon and the weather is fine; both men are off from work and relaxing while chatting in their usual friendly manner. Both men like thoughtful conversation and several topics are discussed by them this afternoon. During their conversation, Douglas raises a topic from a former conversation which is of particular interest to him, “Naming People”.

“Why are people given names?”, ask Douglas, as David is about to place the magazine through which he is browsing on the table before him. “I think people are given names so that they can be identified from among others.”, David answers. “In a world of only two persons neither one of them would need a name as there would be no chance of a mistaken identity.”, David remarks with a smile.

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“Are there any other reasons for which names are sometimes given to people?”, asks Douglas with a rather innocent look on his face. David answers after a short pause, “Yes, two such reasons come to mind.” David continues by saying that “The first reason has to do with an attempt to indicate one or more peculiarities of the bearer of the name.” David then says, “The second reason has to do with an attempt to stigmatize the bearer of the name (individually and or collectively) by giving them a name that is by nature derogatory and belittling.”

“Let us look at the first of these two other reasons for which names are sometimes given.”,  David suggests. Douglas agrees, and David continues by saying “This is not so much of another reason for giving a name to a baby but rather an attempt to give the baby a name which, not only identifies him but more specifically tells us something about one or more of his peculiarities.” David continues to say that, “In some cultures, names are selected for babies based on the meaning of the name and its relevance to some physical or other trait of the baby or an aspect of the baby’s life or circumstances.”

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David continues by reminding, “Remember that the following list of categories of baby names that is mentioned here and used in some cultures is not exhaustive.” David then states, “Some of the categories under which baby names are selected for a more specific indication of any of the baby’s personal or circumstantial traits are: body, birth, family background, circumstances, geography and the hopes and fears of the parents.” David continues, “Here also are some examples of names, with their meaning given after them, that are chosen for the relevance of their meaning to personal or circumstantial traits of the baby: Ham (black) Augustus (born in August) Moses (drawn from the water) Omar (first born) Muhammad (most praised one).”

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“Now let us look at the second of these two other reasons for which names are sometimes given.”, David remarks. He takes a sip of a glass of orange juice which he is served by Douglas. Douglas clears his throat and nods in agreement. David continues by saying, “This second reason for giving a name is not like the first reason in that it can sometimes be a bad reason. The reasons for giving names in this case are often to derogate and belittle the bearer of the name. Such derogatory and belittling names are given to groups and individuals in order to stigmatize them.”

David continues by saying that, “Names only identify a person, they do not shape or mold him. They do not determine how or what a person is; and they do not determine the choices a person makes or the outcome of those choices.” Pausing for a sip of orange juice, David then continues, “Derogatory names are no exception to this rule even though they sometimes succeed in stigmatizing the bearer of them.”

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Douglas shakes his head in agreement and softly taps the top of the table with his right index finger, before he says, “I could not agree with you more.” Douglas then pauses shortly before continuing to say, “Names do not make us, character does. Stigmatization gradually disappears when character appears. Stigmatized persons only need to show true character.” Douglas continues, “Where character has lapsed it must be revived. Where it never existed, it must be developed. Some of the basic areas of activity for practice of characterful development are: willingness to live with others harmoniously, honesty, truthfulness, forgiveness, empathy and general outgoing care and concern for others.” Douglas continues by saying, ” Setting worthwhile goals to be pursued is the next step that should be taken by the stigmatized person. It should also be noted that when persons of character work hard toward achieving lofty goals, they almost always achieve such goals.”

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Douglas pauses briefly after speaking, then gets up and clears the table of the remaining orange juice and the drinking glasses which were used earlier by both men; he takes them into the kitchen. In Douglas’ absence, David gets up and walks slowly toward the rear outer edge of the patio and surveys the surrounding area and the sky. Returning to the table on Douglas’ return from the kitchen, David says, “It is almost dusk. I shall stay for the evening news then I shall be going.” The evening news begins at seven o’ clock. After a short period of silence, both men join Douglas’ beautiful wife in the living room where she is sitting while awaiting the start of the evening news. The evening news ends an hour later and David departs for home after thanking Douglas for a good conversation and his friendly presence; and after thanking Douglas’ wife for welcoming him as their guest.

By Edward Fagan