You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to lead an engaging discussion with elders. Here are some basic tips for using the Spiritual Eldercare guides. For more in-depth information, including examples of what to say, read How to Lead a Bible study for Elders with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
- Generally, Bible study discussions last about 30 minutes.
- It’s helpful to have identical Bibles for each participant. People enjoy holding a Bible (even if they no longer read), and identical versions enable everyone to refer to a page number rather than citations (e.g., “we’ll be on page 498” instead of “we’ll be looking at Luke 13”). The wonderful Gideons International donates large-print New Testament/Psalms Bibles, in either English Standard Version (ESV) or King James (KJV), to accredited senior care facilities. I recommend the ESV.
- Before gathering people together, place an index card in each Bible to mark the spot where you’ll be reading.
- If you don’t have actual Bibles, print out the passage on a single sheet of paper using 18- or 20-point type. (All of my Bible study guides already include a large-print version of the passage.) Make enough copies for everyone.
- If any residents are able and willing to read the section or even single verses aloud, encourage them to do so. Ask for volunteers.
- The questions in these guides are merely suggestions; if something else comes up in the group, feel free to follow that line of thought! Just keep asking encouraging questions that repeat and reinforce the eternal message: God Loves You and is With You.