Elder care and yoga practice

posted in: Elder Yoga, Life | 1
Rolling Brook Restorative (barefoot photos)

I am so sorry dear readers that it has been sooooo long since I’ve posted.

This is the thing, my father-in-law who moved into assisted living in Fredonia last fall, fell out of bed and clunked his noggin’ at the end of February. Ten days of hospitalization were followed by a transfer to a nursing home-the locked dementia ward. This man, who two months ago was enjoying homemade dinners and classical music concerts with us, can no longer walk, barely eats, is in diapers, has leg sores, and hardly knows who his son is, much less who I am. At nearly ninety years old, where is the dignity? What effect does my yoga training have on my response to his suffering…and the family’s grief and suffering?

Well, the first thing I rely upon is the breath. I take long sessions of ujjayi to assuage the grief that he is leaving us.

The second practice I engage in is TONGLEN meditation. I will write a page about that soon. Fortunately for me, my teacher, Mahala of ten thousand bodhisattvas dot com offered a Tonglen class shortly after Ben went into the nursing home.  Did the universe know that I needed this? I can hear my yoga teacher muttering karma, carolyn, karma!

As a caregiver of a ninety year old with end stage dementia, I now know that I need to learn how to take care of myself first because at present I am suffering from a very nasty case of the flue, probably due to exhaustion. So restorative yoga, here I come. The third practice. Pull out the bolsters and blankies, cause I’m resting, deeply. It’s the core practice of compassionate caregivers.

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One Response

  1. Carolyn,
    I believe that too. When you taking care of yourself, it means you can well take care others too. To be healthy where you can get the strength to serve others.

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