Senior Living

Pope: Greed, throwaway culture fuel 'hidden euthanasia' of elderly

Pope Francis greeted people during an encounter with the elderly in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 28.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis warned against the abandonment and neglect of the elderly, calling it a "hidden euthanasia" rooted in today's "poisonous" culture of disposal and an economic system of greed.

In the presence of his predecessor, Pope Francis also thanked Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for staying to live at the Vatican and being like "a wise grandfather at home."

"A people who don't take care of their grandparents and don't treat them well is a people with no future. Why no future? Because they lose the memory (of the past) and they sever their own roots," he said.

Laptops help residents connect to far-flung places

Jane Hrach, center, laughed as Ann Jones logged her on to a laptop in her first computer class at Our Lady of Life Apartments. Hrach and Dolores Hitch, far left, took the class to learn how to better use computers. The class is just one aspect of Our Lady of Life, which also promotes volunteerism among residents.

Carmella Swann was eager to get started on one of the laptops brought into the conference room at Our Lady of Life Apartments in Shrewsbury.

Ann Jones, the administrator of the Cardinal Ritter Senior Services apartments, had brought the laptops to a computer class there. While waiting for the instructor to arrive, Swann — who has experience with computers but has a desire to learn more — found the start button and soon was getting on to her email account.

Support for men in caregiver roles

Richard Corno and his mother, Olga Corno, have benefited from her participation in the Cardinal Ritter Senior Services Adult Day Program in Shrewsbury. As a caregiver, he also takes part in two groups that meet there, including an outreach to men who take on the role of caring for a relative.

Richard Corno takes his role as his mother's caregiver seriously, but he also knows he needs to take care of himself.

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services Adult Day Program and two support groups for caregivers that Cardinal Ritter hosts have provided help for both him and his mother.

Cardinal Ritter is both a lifesaver and a blessing, he said.

Corno, 62, and his mother, Olga, 94, both live in The Hill neighborhood of south St. Louis and are members of St. Ambrose Parish.

Enriching the mind, body and spirit through compassionate care

St. Elizabeth Adult Day Care participant John De Florian, left, 94, beamed after scoring a spare while bowling at the facility in Arnold.

Wearing a baseball cap with a U.S. Marines logo, John De Florian Sr. took his turn at the bowling game in the rec room, using a plastic ball and plastic pins. He missed with his first two rolls, laughed and gestured as if to say, "Oh, well, I gave it a try."

Then on his next roll, the 94-year-old knocked over four pins. De Florian laughed again and raised his hands in victory.

He clearly was having fun. And staff at the St. Elizabeth Adult Day Care Center in Arnold said he has made big improvements in his attitude and socialization since coming to the center.

Church-going habits that eluded man earlier lead to his baptism

Father James Wuerth, MSF, baptized Arnold “Jay” Williams, 84, earlier this month at St. Wenceslaus Church in south St. Louis. Father Wuerth is pastor of the parish served by the Missionaries of the Holy Family since 1960.

Arnold "Jay" Williams and Mary Gajdosik have been freinds since she and another friend came to his place to pick apples a few years ago. They both enjoyed dancing and found they had much else in common. But Williams did not share her church-going habits.

After about a year of dating, he asked if he could go to St. Wenceslaus Church with her. "I said, 'You don't have to go because I'm going,'" Gajdosik recalled. "He said, 'No, I want to go. Can I go with you?'"

Williams has been attending the church for about three years now. Earlier this year, he told her he wanted to be baptized.

Exactly what is aging supposed to teach?

Richard P. Johnson has visited parishes and retirement centers for consultation, workshops, retreats, and other educational work. His work on the spiritual aspects of adult development and aging has inspired maturing adults to follow their hearts and live more abundant lives in Christ. He has written 40 books all focused upon God's expansive grace in the maturing years.

Johnson has been active in the archdiocese for many years providing insight into spiritual gerontology. He offers a list of ten points on what aging should teach people.

He said aging teaches:

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