Entering into Another’s World

When we can’t understand the behavior of another, and perhaps judge them without knowing their situation, we may find it helpful to get to know them and understand them by walking in their shoes. That’s not easy to do.

My home and ministry is at the Mound and Villa at Sinsinawa. The ages of the sisters range from 31 to 100 (with most in their 80s). The life experiences of our sisters are awe-inspiring. I have imbibed their wisdom as they tell their stories.

We are changing in many ways and I am learning how to accept what’s going on in me and the sisters I love. Some of our sisters are mentally sharp while others are becoming more forgetful and even mixed up. Hearing and sight losses have greatly affected how they perceive what’s going on. 

A key belief our sisters share is that “at the heart of everything is relationship.” A way to be in relationship is to be able to enter into the world of the other. I’m learning more about dementia and how to live in the world of someone who has a different reality. It’s sometimes hard to be in that world and yet it is also a blessing. 

Here at the Mound we are becoming a “Dementia Friendly Community.” Everyone can benefit from the suggestions. They include: smile, make eye contact, be kind and friendly, don’t be in a rush, be respectful, have patience. The staff and community are learning more about dementia. In this way we are becoming a welcoming community where relationship is at the heart of everyday.

Would you like to enter into our world? You are always welcome!

Mary Therese Johnson, OP
Sinsinawa, WI


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