Fraility: where are you and your beloveds on the scale? Beautiful moments?

I’ve had some responses and several conversations with friends about fraility in the last few days.  This follows on from my 30 Oct post,

and Peter Saul’s TED talk, about how more and more people are now dying, not suddenly or from a terminal illness, but from organ failure, or after years of dwindling capacity and increasing fraility.  It’s the result of increased longevity.

Many of my friends have parents or friends in this situation, or are working as carers.  We’ve covered lots of ground in our chats.

One issue is the tipping point.  When does someone become frail?  What’s the criteria?  As with so many other things, there are levels.  And here it is, a clinical fraility scale from Dalhousie University:

I found it very helpful.  It puts my Mum, for example, in a context.  It also helps me to see the journey ahead.  Assuming there’s no organ failure.  I also work two days a week looking after a now 93 year old gentleman, a real gentleman.  Who is becoming increasing frail after every infection he (just about) fights off (with incessant anti-biotics).

Being witness to this poignant decline in someone I love and in someone I’ve grown to love is sad and does have its beautiful moments.  The beauty of the human spirit can shine through, perhaps even more strongly.

The iconic photographer of the Vietnam war, Tim Page, wrote in the introduction to Nam, a book of his photographs: “To me, human fraility is rarely portrayed with moving imagery, it remains the domain of the still photograph.”

And the photographer Phillip Toledano has proved that point magnificently in his recent book, which I’ve been so moved by, I wanted to share it with you here