When Help Isn’t Help

Senior woman playing bingo

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.—PHILIPPIANS 2:4 [ESV]

Mom’s nursing home provided some kind of activity every afternoon for their residents. Mom’s favorite was bingo, and I liked to tag along just to have more time with her. The winners got to pick a favorite bite-size candy bar.

The activity director would call out a number and wait however long it took for the residents to move a colored chip onto their cards. Mom’s hands were so crippled that she couldn’t open them anymore. She slowly pushed her chips onto her card with the side of her hand.

It was really hard to watch her struggle so much just to perform this simple task. Everything in me wanted to help her, but I didn’t, no matter how frustrating and heartbreaking it was to watch. Her physical therapist explained to me that the game was actually a kind of physical therapy. First, it got the residents out of their rooms and interacting with each other. Then it made them have to reach with their arms and shoulders and manipulate their hands and fingers. “She can do it,” the therapist assured me. Sometimes the best help is not to help at all.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the reminders to let my loved one do the best that they can, when they are able.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts