I surpassed my GoFundMe goal in August 2018 — thank you everyone!
When will these songs be available for download?
As of June 2019, all 89 of the hymns, gospels songs, and spirituals are DONE! The Christmas set is scheduled for recording and hopefully will be available by the end of summer.
Why did you start this project?
While doing this chaplain work, I realized that there were no downloadable singalong hymns for people with dementia anywhere online, let alone for for free – so I decided to create them myself.
I love the work I do with elders and the way I see God’s spirit reach them through music every single week. It’s common for seniors to begin weeping when they hear certain songs, and people with limited or even no verbal ability move their lips to the lyrics or raise their heads and hands. Their spirits come alive, whether for a moment or longer, and it’s beautiful.
Let me hasten to point out that people of any faith background or no faith background love this music! The songs come from the Christian worship tradition, but elders from other faiths regularly come to these meetings, enjoy the songs, and tell me they’re glad they came.
I figure that if activity directors, other chaplains, or even volunteers want to provide a simple church service for elders with dementia, these downloadable singalong hymns (along with my free worship agendas) will make it easy. You won’t have to be musical or a trained worship leader to offer this important spiritual care.
How did you choose the song list?
I want to be sure I include a solid cross-section of songs from major U.S. regions and denominations. So first, I created a spreadsheet of the most well-known hymns and checked each one on Hymnary.org to see which denominations include it in its hymnal. I also asked friends and readers which songs they would like included, and took into account my own experience of what seniors with dementia respond to.
Who did the song arrangements?
I leaned on my experience with elders with dementia and my musicians to make these recordings ideal for their target audience. It’s important to remember that the recordings are not primarily meant to be typical performances; they are designed as sing-alongs, so it’s critical to keep arrangements and vocals simple. (Of course, they’re nice for listening too!) We recorded each set separately, with two vocalists and a piano accompanist.
Do you have permission to use these songs?
All but four of the songs are in the public domain. For those that are not, I have obtained copyright permission.
What about Christmas songs?
Yes! A recording session is scheduled for June 2019.
Will these songs be available as CDs, downloads, and on streaming services?
I have no plans to create CDs. All songs will be available as free, downloadable music files on SpiritualEldercare.com. I’m also planning to add them to streaming services such as Spotify, SoundCloud, and/or Pandora.
How is the GoFundMe money used?
The bulk of these funds pay for studio time, musicians, and copies of sheet music. I don’t make any profit doing this ministry. But I do believe in paying artists, such as sound engineers and musicians, for their work.
Are donations tax-deductible?
Sorry, no. Spiritual ElderCare is not set up as a nonprofit (at least not yet). If you are part of an organization or foundation that requires a tax receipt for donations, please let me know.
What will you do with any extra money that’s raised?
Any money raised above the goal will go directly to other Spiritual ElderCare expenses. My wish list includes:
- Props such as simple banners to decorate the rooms where I conduct services
- A lapel or headset mike for services and Bible studies (my voice gets hoarse!)
- Songbooks that I can take with me to any residence
- Gas for my travel
- Continuing chaplain and dementia education classes
- Streaming and additional memory capacity on the Spiritual ElderCare website
Can I simply send you a check directly?
Sure! Again, please contact me.
What’s your long-term goal as a chaplain for elders?
My big audacious goal: I want to see nondenominational spiritual care offered to elders with dementia everywhere in the world. I would love to train people how to do this kind of work.
How else can I help?
Please spread the word. More than anything else, I want people to know that these resources exist, for free. Use your social media accounts to tell people about the hymn recordings, worship services and Bible studies for people with dementia, now on SpiritualElderCare.com.
If you have media contacts that might be interested in this work, feel free to put them in touch with me.
I am so thankful for all of your encouragements! Add any questions to the comments below, and stay tuned for more info soon.
Peace be with you,