How you can offer soul support for seniors with dementia
Are you a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia? Are you a time-pressed activity director at a long-term care community who wants to offer spiritual activities?
If so, I applaud you – and can help you. As you lovingly meet older adults’ physical and social needs, I can give you the guidance and resources to meet their spiritual needs as well.
I have more than 35 years of experience leading nondenominational Christian worship services and Bible studies in both church and para-church settings. I also have nearly 20 years of experience interacting with older adults with dementia, a population I absolutely love. (My own father-in-law developed Alzheimer’s disease in the early 2000s, and my husband and I were intimately involved with his journey until his death in 2012.)
In 2016, I combined my spiritual-care experience with my dementia-care experience and became a licensed chaplain for elders with dementia. I now serve at three long-term care communities in Boulder County, Colorado.
What you’ll find here
When I began this work, I found almost no resources specific to the spiritual needs of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias … so I created them myself. Then I realized that others might find these resources useful as well. That’s why I created SpiritualEldercare.com.
Spiritual Eldercare make it easy for you to engage elders with dementia with meaningful, interactive spiritual activities. I offer:
- Dementia-friendly Bible discussion guides and tips on how to lead one.
- Full length, dementia-friendly nondenominational worship agendas, complete with suggested scripture readings, songs, poems, an interactive homily guide, and more.
- Downloadable sing-along hymns, spirituals, and Christmas songs, specifically arranged for elders with dementia (slower, shorter, and in a lower key).
- Downloadable hymnals for group singing.
- YouTube versions of all of my hymns and several church services (started in March 2020 in response to covid-19 lockdowns).
I decided from the get-go to offer these resources for free — because I want to remove any possible barrier for anyone who wants to provide this kind of care. I gratefully accept donations, which help pay for things like song licensing and ongoing chaplain education. (Suggested donation: $5.)
Why is spiritual care for people with dementia so important?
Most of the elders in our midst went to church regularly all their lives — but, as they move into assisted living facilities or struggle with dementia, many are no longer able to attend. Many served in their churches for decades and desperately want to know that God has not forgotten them. These elders are not “gone” — even if they suffer the ravages of dementia. Their lives still have meaning, beauty, and purpose.
In my experience, elders with dementia still want to know more about God, how to be faithful servants, and what their purpose is today. Familiar faith rituals, words, and songs bring back hopeful, comforting long-term memories. Even those who can no longer speak or seem lost to the fog of dementia respond profoundly – even miraculously – to old-time hymns, loving touch, eye contact, and conversation about spiritual things.
With Spiritual Eldercare resources, you — yes, you! — can create times of meaningful spiritual connection for elders with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The benefits are myriad, and I guarantee you’ll receive more blessing than you give.
Connect with me
I care deeply about this work and want to make it possible for anyone, anywhere. Feedback and suggestions are always welcome. I respond personally to every inquiry and would love to talk with you.
Peace be with you,
Elisa Bosley, Chaplain | Boulder, CO