WINCHESTER, TN (ANS) — In just over a decade, older adults are projected to outnumber kids for the first time in U.S. history. And according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, up to five million of the elderly experience some type of abuse (physical, mental, emotional, sexual or neglect) each year.
Linda Winn spent over a decade in some very difficult situations with her mother after a massive stroke and advocated on her behalf as she was the victim of abuse and neglect.
Honoring her father’s deathbed request, Linda accompanies her mother on the road to glory—a road littered with perils, but sprinkled with pearls of God’s wisdom, mercy and grace.
The Road to Glory is a true story that provides a vivid illustration of life in the eldercare system, as blind Miss Sadie faces many trials while being cared for in her own home, assisted living, nursing home, hospital and rehabilitation after a massive stroke.
But God’s faithfulness triumphs over her despair when Sadie’s daughter, Linda, intercedes to restore her from feelings of helplessness and hopelessness to enjoying life and good conversations again. Their trying yet inspiring journey illustrates our need for God to lead the way in a world where trials are sure to come.
Linda’s new book “The Road to Glory: Walking Mama Home,” encourages conversations around topics such as:
** Caring for our aging or ill loved ones
** Planning for difficult times and end of life
** Advocating for those less able, those we love
** Sacrifice, selflessness, serving others
** Setting aside fear and pain and walking the last leg of a loved one’s journey with them
** Honoring a loved one as their vigilant intercessor
** Turning all aspects of a loved one’s care over to God
** Letting God fight your battles, understanding His peace
** Honor thy mother and father…. what does this mean?
Linda’s Credentials include 10 years as an intercessor/advocate, 10 years an eyewitness at all levels of eldercare; Bachelor of Science, Tennessee Tech Univ; M.A.T. with emphasis in psychology, Winthrop University; Post Master’s study Sociology and Psychology of Physical Education and Sport at West Georgia University; and Five years as a tennis analyst for men’s and women’s professional tours.
Linda originally wrote the book as a memoir for my family, “but as my eyes were opened to eldercare as an entirely different culture, I realized that each senior citizen needs an advocate.
“As believers, we are all on the road to glory. I wrote about Mama’s journey to prepare others for the trials they are likely to face on their journey and to encourage them to seek God’s help at every turn. In today’s vernacular, ‘Old people matter.’ Seniors need an advocate because we live in a fallen world, a world where everyone has a bad day every now and then. And when a healthcare professional has a bad day on the job, the patient suffers. But if you are there when they are having a bad day, your presence softens the blow for your loved one.”
Linda accepted this challenge, knowing it would be time consuming, “Because it was God’s will and my daddy’s last wish. On his deathbed, Daddy said, ‘Linda, you’re going to have to take care of your mother now.’ I promised him I would. And, of course God commanded us to honor our fathers and mothers. I learned a long time ago that you can run, but you cannot hide from God.”
She added: “Even though we might not know it as the time, I think God prepares each of us for the tasks He has for us to do at some future date. For me, in addition to my education, interests, and life experiences, He filled me with an extra measure of patience and the heart of an intercessor/protector to ensure Mama’s safety. And, He used this journey to deepen my faith and dependence on Him.”
She learned from the years she took care of her mother that God is faithful to those who lean on Him.
“My mother was so angry when it was time to move her out of her home, that I knew she would be a handful for anyone charged with her care. And I knew that she would need protection from people who wouldn’t put up with her nonsense. But I also knew that I couldn’t do it alone. Only God could steer us safely through the maze of eldercare and meet Mother’s needs all along the way,” she said.
Linda does not consider her book to be an expose` of the eldercare system? “Heavens no!” she said: “It is NOT an expose`. It’s more of a plea for a friend or family member to step up as an intercessor to act on the behalf of their loved ones.”
What qualifications are needed to be a good care giver? “Love and patience. The ability to put your loved one first, to set yourself aside for the benefit of your loved one is required. In other words, treat them the way you would want to be treated if you were in the same situation. Of course, a little common sense wouldn’t hurt.”
The main message of her book is that, “The road to glory is littered with perils but it’s also sprinkled with God’s wisdom, mercy, and grace for all who choose to lean on Him.
“My goal is that readers will be better prepared for their own journey on the road to glory; that they won’t be blindsided by the trials they face; and that they will turn to God to see them through.
“I hope readers will be encouraged to walk the last leg of their loved one’s journey with them and that they will have someone who will lovingly walk with them when it’s their turn.”
The author of this story, Michael Ireland, is a self-supported media missionary with ANS. Click here to support him as a missionary journalist.