Prayer and Service with Alzheimers

Posted on 20. Sep, 2018, in Chronic illness, Community, Different abilities, Gospel Values1 Comment

In this second part of our three part series, Des O’Grady SJ, talks about working with Alzheimers and in particular leading prayer, saying mass and doing his job.

He currently works as a chaplain in Dundrum central mental hospital and says the disease gives him insight into those he serves in Dundrum who also have their own psychiatric needs. He says that his ability to continue work, even in the face of what is often a debilitating disease, has given others inspiration with regard to their own limitations.

He talks to Pat Coyle about seeing the good in things and not focusing on what you can’t do, but rather enjoying the life that you have. Pat asked him about how he prioritises his life differently in light of his illness.

His story is also being submitted to be part of the Elder Project following the success of the letter exchange between Pope Francis and children from around the world resulting in the New York Times bestseller Dear Pope Francis. The Elder Project will give older people a similar opportunity to share their wisdom and concerns with upcoming generations.

One response to “Prayer and Service with Alzheimers”

  1. Suzanne Ryder says:

    How wondrous are the workings of the Beloved. I feel so touched to hear how Alzheimer’s disease can be, as Des has says, “a gift.” I wouldn’t even call it a spin off as it seems to be far deeper. What is heartbreaking is how Des sees with fear the possibilities as his life progresses, of all he might lose. It seems to be like belief in the afterlife to me. I believe it theoretically but the leap into death will be another matter altogether. For Des, if he can believe that his wonderful life will continue into meaning beyond what he knows now, I hope that will be a reward in itself. As before, I thank you, Des and Pat, for this open conversation that revels far more layers than are obvious.

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