I am not normally one for serious type movies, or most movies for that matter. However I don’t mind a “feel good” movie or those with a historic bent. For me, movies need to either educate or inspire me.
But on a recent flight overseas, with nothing much better to do to pass time, I found myself watching The Theory of Everything, the story of the life of Professor Stephen Hawking.
The story traces the life of Stephen Hawking from his university days through to his diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease and the eventual loss of many of his normal bodily functions including mobility and his power of speech.
Once diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, life expectancy is generally quite brief with two years being around the average. However in certain cases, a low-progressing form of Motor Neuron Disease such as that suffered by Professor Hawking, sees people living much longer. In Stephen Hawking’s case, he was diagnosed at the age of 21 and is now 73.
Being the debilitating condition that it is, the support of compassionate carers can improve the quality of life significantly. Unfortunately as the disease progresses, more care is generally required.
To me, the message from the movie was the role Stephen’s wife, Jane, played in caring for him as his health deteriorated and then the role taken by his nurse in later years.
I know it is only a movie, but the dedication and commitment demonstrated by these two ladies was inspiring.
It got me thinking.
As we age, we often find there will be periods of time when we need a little extra help, perhaps only for a short period following an illness of injury, but sometimes care of a more permanent nature is needed.
While the majority of care is provided by family members, care can also be accessed through both private and public agencies, including those operated by a number of charities and religious groups. More formalised care is often delivered in the form of a “home care package”, with the services provided being matched to the specific needs of the client.
It is often said that people who provide care, “don’t do it for the money”. Fomalised employment in the care-giving sector is quite poorly paid, but every day, thousands of people turn up to provide care to others; be it in paid employment, as volunteers, or as family members providing care for a loved one.
Next time you meet someone who provides care, whether on a formal or an informal basis, take a moment to compliment them on the work they do. It is often a thankless task and a word of encouragement or a comment or two might just brighten their day.9