All Press Releases for December 20, 2021

Assisted Living: A Prayer For The Elderly In Assisted Care Offered By Frances Fuller, Award Winning Author Of 'Helping Yourself Grow Old'

Best-selling author Frances Fuller offers a unique outlook on aging based on her own experience. Her insights are penetrating and deal with issues that many seniors and their families are concerned about.

    WILMINGTON, NC, December 20, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- We must remember a great many things during the Holiday season. That being the case, we can easily become overwhelmed and allow other very important things to be forgotten. Though we might be loathe to admit it, this focus on the details surrounding upcoming Holiday events, travel and Holiday preparations can easily cause us to forget about those from whom we learned about the Holidays in the first place - the senior members of our family and/or extended family. This is especially true if that family member resides in an assisted living facility. Frances Fuller, best-selling author of 'Helping Yourself Grow Old,' addressed this in a recent piece posted on her site.

A Christmas Prayer for the Elderly in Assisted Care:

Once a friend of mine, visiting in a nursing home for the elderly, said "Merry Christmas" at the bedside of a woman who then began to cry and said, "I didn't know it was Christmas." My friend was angry. She had heard Christmas music in the lobby, but there was none on the ward where the sick and infirm lay in rows.

This is an extreme case, I think. I hope. But there is my friend here who sometimes is bright and witty and other times cannot find her apartment. She also feels deserted by her family and has in the world only one person who comes to visit. Right now she, who wants people more than anyone else I know, is confined to her room, having tested positive for covid. I find it possible, even probable she has no idea that Christmas is near.

I want her to know that God has come to live with us, and the world is celebrating.

When you are really old, your life is mostly in the past, and you know it. And anyway, our holiday celebrations are based on tradition, the habits we developed through the years. We remember happily what we did before and do it again. So when we are old, Christmas is mostly Christmas remembered, with mates and family and friends, setting up the manger scene, hiding gifts, decorating a tree, going to church, making pies. All of these are still real in our minds. And the memories can make us sad or happy.
I want my friends in this community, to accept these memories as gifts, not things they have lost but things they still own and be grateful for them.

Christmas has often focused on the children. It is hard to think of Christmas without remembering childhood, and without recalling secrets we prepared for our own young ones. A memory comes to me now. Our Jan, at about age ten, caught wind of our secretiveness and said, "Adults have all the fun." I thought it was clever of her to figure that out and interesting that she was jealous of the plotters, the givers.

Most of us when we are old remember both the magic of childhood and our adult labors, the work by which we made a living, our accomplishments, and the care for children, the rising early, the staying up late, the sacrifices freely made. It is important to most of us, when we are old, to know we didn't waste all that effort but created happiness and made a good contribution to the world. Our children have grown up, have careers and children of their own. Our grandchildren are amazing, dashing around the world, changing it.

In old age it is good to think of our offspring and know that we did a good job, we gave them Christmases to remember, passed along our faith and values. In the process we gave the world people smarter than we are and a chance to be better. We would like to imagine them together now, at Christmas, the way we brought them together with cousins and friends when they were young.
I want my friends here to feel such accomplishments and be proud of what they did, including the smart, energetic people they have given the world.

I have noticed here in this very nice care community that people never stop missing "home," whatever it was. The old place we inherited. The house we built or remodeled. Where we raised the children. Where we retired. Where all the family came together for special occasions. Actually, what we call home is only partly about a place and mostly about family, the togetherness.

Whatever it is, we tend to yearn for it. The accommodations and the service here have nothing to do with this. When we were young we wanted to see something new. Now that we are old we love familiar places and familiar faces. And there is no time when the idea of home has greater significance than at Christmas.

But we are in this new place for a reason, a valid, important reason. As I think about this, an Old Testament story pops into my head: Jacob waking up amazed in the desert with his head on a rock, saying, "Surely God is in this place and I didn't know it."

In the year I have been in this strange place I have noticed this same truth, and I have noticed also that just being grateful for the comfort and safety of the place where we are makes us happier. Maybe this just focuses the mind on a better place and leads to our sharing Jacob's surprise.

I'm pushing gratitude and amazement.

Whether the elderly remain in their homes or live in special communities planned for them, they are likely to be a bit removed from events of the season: the buzz of planning, the whirls of activity, the smells in the kitchen, the secrets in the closet. Most will not see their families together even for a day, and for many this is the first Christmas in many years without the one person with whom they built a life. The honest truth is that professional health care, protection, food and service may not translate into love.

I just want my neighbors in the building to know they are remembered and loved, to know it and feel it.
With all of this in mind, I have composed a short prayer, and I am suggesting that you pray these things for the people you know and the people you don't who are living in the somewhat artificial "home" where they will spend their last days, weeks, years.

A Christmas Prayer for the Elderly in Assisted Care

May they discover at Christmas that God lives with us here.
May they recall and treasure happy times in the past.
May they think of the younger people in their family with pride and hope.
May they be grateful for the comfort and safety of the place where they live.
May they know and feel that they are loved.

Let's say it again in the opposite order:

May they know and feel that they are loved.
May they be grateful for the comfort and safety of the place where they live.
May they think of the younger people in their family with pride and hope.
May they recall and treasure happy times in the past.
May they discover at Christmas that God lives with us here.

The full piece is available at her site at

There are many great books on aging available. However, many of them were written from an academic point of view. Most are penned by sociologists, doctors, gerontologists, even the CEO of AARP, and one by a Catholic nun, Joan Chittister. Chittister's book, 'The Gift of Years' is beautifully written, focusing on spiritual values and finding meaning in life. Chittister admits in the preface that she was only 70, which is the front edge of aging, and her book is somewhat abstract.

Atul Gawande's book, 'On Being Mortal', relates medicine and old age, It enjoys high Amazon rankings, in the category of "the sociology of aging." It contains a great deal of valuable scientific information and shows understanding of the physical and emotional needs of the elderly.

Frances Fuller's book, 'Helping Yourself Grow Old, Things I Said To Myself When I Was Almost Ninety', is an up-close and very personal encounter with aging. It is an uncontrived and firsthand look at her own daily experiences: wrestling with physical limitations, grief, loneliness, fears, and the decisions she has made about how to cope with these and keep becoming a better person. She faces regrets and the need to forgive herself and others and is determined to live in a way that blesses her children and grandchildren.

Frances deals with many common, universal but sometimes private issues in an open, conversational tone. Her confessions and decisions invite self-searching and discussion. She tries to make sense of her own past and to understand her responsibility to younger generations. In the process she shares her daily life, enriched with memories from her fascinating experiences. Her stories and her voice — fresh, honest, irresistible — keep the reader eager for more. The end result is a book that helps create a detailed map through the challenging terrain of old age.

The result of this intimate narrative is that readers laugh, cry and identify with her mistakes and problems. Reviewers have called the book, "unique," "honest," "witty," "poignant," "challenging" and "life-changing."

For these reasons it is a book unlike any other book on aging you will ever read. The book can serve as a primer on what lies in store for all of us, from someone who is working through many of these issues. While the book is a perfect fit for book clubs, there are many other individuals and groups who could benefit from the information and ideas in the book:

Those approaching retirement
People who are currently retired
Children of aging parents
Those who have lost a spouse
Retirement community discussion groups
Life coaches
Church groups (men and women)

and a host of others. For group discussions, Fuller has made a set of discussion questions available at her website at

Readers have lavished praise on the new book. One Amazon review stated, "I find myself thinking,'I need to read this again and take notes!' It's full of wisdom, humor, and grace. I also have committed to rereading it annually - it's that important!" Another said, "There is valuable life experience in this book. Helping Yourself Grow Old is truly is a book for all ages, and one not to be missed." Another stated, "Beautifully written book telling timeless truths, for both the old and the young. Highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and learn wisdom from someone who has lived so much life."

Frances' prior work, 'In Borrowed Houses', has taken three industry awards and has achieved Bestseller status. Frances Fuller was the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 '50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading' Book Awards. It received the bronze medal for memoir in the Illumination Book Awards in 2014. Northern California Publishers and Authors annually gives awards for literature produced by residents of the area. In 2015 'In Borrowed Houses' received two prizes: Best Non-fiction and Best Cover.

Critics have also praised 'In Borrowed Houses.' A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards called 'In Borrowed Houses' " . . a well written book full of compassion . . . a captivating story . . . ". Another reviewer described the book as "Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching . . .". Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, " . . . western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope."

Frances has shared stories about her life in an interview with Women Over 70, and a recording is available on their Facebook page.

Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. The full text of her latest article is available at her website. Fuller's book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from 'In Borrowed Houses' is available at Frances Fuller also blogs on other issues relating to the Middle East on her website at

About Frances Fuller:

Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.

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Contact Information

Frances Fuller
Frances Fuller
Wilmington, NC
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