Community Makes a Difference
Community makes a difference. I have seen it firsthand. My mother is with us this week. She is in the process of moving from her “independent” living environment into an “assisted” living environment and in the meantime, she has moved in with us. The move was prompted because she has not been eating well, she has not been consistently taking her medication, she has had multiple falls, and she has had some cognitive deficits (sometimes not even sure where she is). Her ability to tend to herself in “independent” living was no longer an option.
While with us just this week, we have seen an amazing transformation: she is eating (she has even said that her hunger is back), she is sleeping well, she is taking her meds on time, she is physically stronger and has not had a single fall, and her mind is clearer. What made the difference? Besides the fact that my wife, Denise, has been an amazing and compassionate caregiver, the difference is community. She has been eating with the family around the table, taking her medicine when we are with her to dispense the proper meds at the same time each day, and enjoying people constantly in and out of the house providing stimulation and often unplanned entertainment.
Carl Jung, the Swiss Psychiatrist, once noted that emotional healing required “a protective wall of human community.” We all benefit from human community. One of the reasons that 12 Step programs for addiction works is because it provides a human community of fellow travelers. LIFE Groups offer the same kind of support. Regardless what life issue you are facing, a support group will be helpful.
When we isolate ourselves from others, we begin a slow process of decline. When we engage meaningfully with others, we begin a rather quick process of recovery. I have seen it firsthand this week.