Often, when I tell elders that I’m a chaplain, the first thing they want to know is “who are you with?” They mean church. It’s a natural question, especially for the senior generation, who grew up with clear categories of religious denominations (Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic, etc.). Without making a short story long: … Continue reading What does it mean to be a chaplain?
I've been pondering why I don't see very much spiritual care happening for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. Despite research that seniors with dementia value and benefit from spiritual care, I haven't come across very many people or places that actually provide it. Why? There are probably numerous reasons, but I think the main disconnect … Continue reading Why is spiritual care for elders with dementia so rare?
I've enjoyed a different work rhythm this week (mostly because my editing work hit a lull), so I've updated Spiritual ElderCare with new Bible studies and worship services I created over the past several weeks. I hope these give you some direction as you seek to meet the spiritual needs of elders. I also reformatted … Continue reading New Bible studies and worship services for elders with dementia and Alzheimer’s
Insights from Chad Federwitz, friend and senior care director whose research focuses on spirituality and dementia.
Happy Pentecost Sunday! I really enjoyed the eldercare church services this week because we talked about the day that God sent his Spirit to the very first Christ-believers. I created a new service for Pentecost Sunday, which is now uploaded on the site. Beyond words It’s interesting to note how the writer of Acts 2 … Continue reading Pentecost Sunday: a service for those with Alzheimer’s
Without a doubt, music reaches something inside of elders that nothing else does, and it's miraculous and joyful to witness. I've seen time and again how seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia -- even people who might otherwise be nonverbal -- start singing the words to classic hymns as soon as the music starts playing. (To get a taste … Continue reading Create a hymn playlist for an elder
I promised I'd let you know whenever I post a new worship service, so here's the latest one. This week I chose the theme of Abiding. I'm not sure why I decided on this theme. Maybe it's because the old hymn "Abide With Me" has been running through my head: Abide with me, fast falls the … Continue reading Abide: new worship service for elders with Alzheimer’s
Of all the graphic images of the pain and indignities that Jesus suffered on his way to and upon the cross, for some reason it’s the crown of thorns that gets me every time. (Yes, there is a tie-in to spiritual care for elders, so stay with me.) Why does the crown of thorns bother … Continue reading Why the crown of thorns gets me every time
If you're a chaplain or activities director at a senior community -- or if you have a loved one who lives there -- you might want to check out two new Spiritual ElderCare worship services for Palm Sunday and Good Friday (yes, just under the wire!), suitable for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. This is the … Continue reading Palm Sunday and Good Friday worship services for elders with dementia
It bears repeating: People with dementia aren’t “done.” They have led productive, valuable lives, and often they still love to help in whatever way they can—it's part of the human desire to feel needed and useful. "Letting" them help isn't about busywork, and your elder's usefulness isn't a fiction; tasks actually do need to be done, and … Continue reading How to help a person with Alzheimer’s feel useful