About

Why I Created Spiritual ElderCare

As more and more people reach very old age, life’s road can get lonely. Long-loved friends and family members move away, die, and forget or are unable to visit. It’s not unusual for elders to wonder why they’re still here, why they haven’t been “called home,” and how to find purpose in their days. As my grandmother, then age 91, lamented, “God has forgotten me.”

But these elders are still very much alive — even if they suffer the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Their lives still have meaning, beauty, and purpose. Spiritual ElderCare springs from my deep love for elders, particularly those with dementia, and their still-vibrant souls.

In my experience, these dear people still want to know more about God, how to be faithful servants, and what their purpose is today. Even those who can no longer speak or seem lost to the fog of Alzheimer’s respond to loving touch, music, eye contact, and conversation about spiritual things. I see this every day.

My Background

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Dad and me, 2011

My beloved father-in-law developed Alzheimer’s disease in his late 60s and passed away at age 76. My husband and I were intimately involved with his progress as my mother-in-law became his full-time caregiver. I learned a lot about dementia during this time, and I loved hanging out with him … and found I was able to help others, including my husband, learn how to cope and even to celebrate the moments of connection and joy during Dad’s decline.

After his death, I started volunteering at Balfour Cherrywood, a dedicated Alzheimer’s and memory-care community in Louisville, Colorado. Starting in January 2013, I hosted the weekly Sunday afternoon tea, complete with vintage china, a rousing teacup2-morgan-sessions-upsplashsing-along, and homemade cookies (made by my mother-in-law).

During the hour before the tea party, I often sat with residents during the worship service, led by then-chaplain Chad Federwitz, the deeply caring activities director. I learned so much by watching Chad lead those services, which included lots of hymn singing, readings from the Bible and other sources, the occasional funny story, and an interactive homily on a theme such as community, love, peace, or wisdom. By his example, Chad taught me the incalculable value of spiritual care for these dear residents.

When Chad moved on in May 2016, I was delighted to be offered the part-time chaplain role. (See my blog, “What Does it Mean to be a Chaplain?”) It is the highlight of my week to create and lead the weekly Bible study with residents, as well as the worship service on Sunday afternoons.

Chaplain Work

As for my religious and education background: I was confirmed in the Catholic church; at age 13, I made a decision to follow Jesus. I now have more than 34 years of experience leading interdenominational Christian worship services and Bible studies in both church and para-church settings.

I earned a BA from Stanford University in English/Creating Writing. In 2015, I completed healing prayer ministry training (Levels 1-4). In June 2017, I became a licensed and ordained chaplain through I.F.O.C., which has given me new insights and tools for this work.

I now lead spiritual care at four senior communities in Boulder County.

Spread the Love

While doing this work, it occurred to me that other chaplains, family members, and anyone else who loves elders might find my Bible studies and worship services useful in their own roles. These free, downloadable documents are easy to modify to your own setting and the level of your loved one’s or residents’ abilities and interest — and in fact I encourage you to do so.

I’m also creating a cache of downloadable sing-along hymns and spirituals arranged for people with dementia; read more about it!

In addition, I’ve gathered some resources — experts, websites, articles, and more — that I’ve found interesting and helpful. I’ve been a professional writer and editor for many years, so creating this site is a way for me to use my expertise to benefit elders, families, and caregivers who are so dear to me.0350_nh_cropped

Please contact me if you have any questions, suggestions, or thoughts; I’d love to make this site a community effort. I’d also be happy to arrange a phone consultation or an in-person training visit to your elder care setting.

Peace be with you,

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16 thoughts on “About

  1. Kuvy Ax says:

    This is excellent!! You’re SUCH a good writer… and the site is well laid out and easy to use. Well done dear one! What a wonderful thing you’re bringing to the world ❤

    Like

  2. Margo True says:

    This site is wonderful in every way, and I’m sure will be incredibly helpful to many, both practically and spiritually. Thank you, Elisa, for adding meaning and love to the world.

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  3. Lori Buechner says:

    This is wonderful, Elisa! I am deeply grateful for the resources you’ve created and compiled. My 84-yr-old Mom lives in a Memory Care facility here in Broomfield and I will utilize these so much! I would love to hear if/when your mp3 Hymns project gets completed – what a fabulous idea!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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    • elisa bosley says:

      Lori, that’s music to my ears. I’m so glad, and please let me know how it goes for you and your mom; I really want to know how to improve these resources, so let me know what you find as you use them. I am hoping and praying to get the MP3 recording done in 2018.

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  4. Walt Zimmer says:

    Elisa, thank you. I want to start a dementia Bible study and find it challenging. My first session was this past Sunday – why we believe and have faith. . I think it was well received and worth all the time I put into it. I’ve taught adult groups for many years, but this is different. I want to give each of them something special to take back with them – a word, a phrase or a memory. This week I want to spend time in the New Testament. – maybe the Prodigal Son or Matthew 5 on the Blessings. Thank you for giving me such great ideas and resources.

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    • elisa bosley says:

      Walt, that is wonderful to hear! Yes, there are challenges, but I promise if you stick with it you will be blessed beyond measure. I hope you find my approach helpful; I’d love any feedback. I’m in the process of revamping a lot of stuff, so stay tuned for more! Blessings on your heart and ministry to these dear elders.

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  5. Jacqualene Nelson says:

    I have been lead to your sight and I must say that I am grateful.
    I m a Coordinator in an Dementia/ Alzheimer Community and never have I been so blessed.
    I do need the Lord’s guidance every minute of the day.
    Thank you for doing what you do,
    Jacqualene Nelson

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    • elisa bosley says:

      Jacqualene, thank you for these kind words, and for your work! I’m in the process of updating a lot of materials on the site as well as creating free downloadable hymn singalongs … so stay tuned 🙂 Blessings, E

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  6. joyce dupree says:

    These are the best and most wonderful lessons for alzheimers patients at our nursing home where I am teaching. I love it and they do to. The way the lessions are written are just wonderful to teach. I love the way you explain everything. Keep up the good works and May God Bless You. Joyce Dupree

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    • elisa bosley says:

      Joyce, thank you so much! I am thrilled that they’re working for you and your residents. And stay tuned: I’m planning to update the Bible studies and worship services as soon as I’m finished with the Hymns for Alzheimer’s project this summer (click on “Blog” above if you don’t know what that is). Blessings on your good work!

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  7. Jennifer L Comegys says:

    I am thrilled to have found this site. I am a Faith Community Nurse at my church and have a love for people with dementia. As a nurse I worked for years with those having dementia.
    We have done some special people getting lost in our women”s Bible Study and I want to do a small group with them . Your material is wonderful. I look forward to following more.

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    • elisa bosley says:

      Jennifer, I’m so glad! I’m getting ready to update everything on the site to make the materials even more useful, I hope. Let me know if there is anything in particular you think would be helpful—I really want the feedback. Bless you for your love and effort to connect these elders with the Spirit!

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