THINGS WE CAN DO
(TO BE IN MINISTRY WITH/BY/FOR OLDER ADULTS)
Though quarantining is changing the way churches engage in ministry, that does not mean the church’s response has slowed down. If anything, it is has ramped up in new and innovative ways to meet the expanding needs of caring for the grieving to comforting the lonely. This new webinar series for 2021 will focus on ways churches can be in ministry to/with/for Older Adults and Boomers during these challenging times.
All webinars are noon to 1 p.m. Central time. Click the links below to register.
- January 28, 2021 – Ministering to the Grieving During Pandemic; Speakers – Rev. Malcolm Frazier and Dr. Trina Armstrong
- February 23, 2021 – Ministering to the Isolated During Pandemic; Speakers – Julie Wright
- March 25, 2021 – Let Older Adults Lead Ministries; Speakers – Missy Buchanan, Rebecca Fraley, Clayton Smith
- April 22, 2021–Offering a Dementia Friendly Worship Service: Speaker-Linda Abel
ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA: MINISTERING WITH THE FORGOTTEN
In 2009, someone was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia every 77 seconds.
Today, someone is diagnosed every 65 seconds. And the number is escalating.
In 2050, it will be one person every 33 seconds.
For retired United Methodist Bishop Kenneth Carder, the statistics are personal. His wife, Linda, was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia and he was called into a new vocation—that of caregiver for Linda.
Out of that experience, Bishop Carder felt led to create a five-part study, Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Ministry with the Forgotten, (free downloadable videos and leader’s guide are available below) because he wanted to help start conversations within United Methodist congregations and generate action around caring for people who have a form of dementia as well as their caregivers.
FREE videos and downloadable leader’s guide are available. Click on the resources below.
Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Ministry with the Forgotten
Downloadable Session Videos:
DEMENTIA AND THE CHURCH
The United Methodist Church offers webinars providing information to faith communities, care partners, and persons living with dementia to offer spiritual support and education. Watch these recorded webinars on your schedule.
Clergy Against Alzheimer’s/Faith United Against Alzheimer’s.
The ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s Network and FaithUnitedAgainstAlzheimer’s Coalition are diverse, interfaith national communities of clergy, other faith leaders, laity, and organizations advocating for dementia friendly faith communities across the country and demanding action to stop Alzheimer’s.
Clergy Network and Faith Coalition members believe that living with value and purpose is a human right. To that end, we promote dignity, compassionate care, and quality of life for those living with dementia and their families, as we work together to stop Alzheimer’s by 2020. The Clergy Network brings together faith leaders and people of faith, while the Faith Coalition includes faith- or denomination-based organizations and Alzheimer’s agencies working with community faith leaders.
Our communities are welcoming to those living with dementia and their families, and take steps to enable worship, support care partners, educate about dementia, and promote brain health.
Dementia diseases represent a crisis of faith for many family members and congregations. Magnifying this crisis is the way people with dementia tend to be objectified by both medical and religious communities. They are recipients of treatment and projects for mission. Ministry is done to and for them rather than with them.
While acknowledging the devastation of dementia diseases, Ken Carder draws on his own experience as a caregiver, hospice chaplain, and pastoral practitioner to portray the gifts as well as the challenges accompanying dementia diseases. He confronts the deep personal and theological questions created by loving people with dementia diseases, demonstrating how living with dementia can be a means of growing in faith, wholeness, and ministry for the entire community of faith. He also reveals that authentic faith transcends intellectual beliefs, verbal affirmations, and prescribed practices. Carder asserts that the Judeo-Christian tradition offers a broader lens, defining personhood in relationship to God’s story and humanity’s participation in God’s mighty acts of creation and new creation; thereby contributing to hope, community, and self-worth.
Pastors and congregations will be better equipped to minister with people affected by dementia, receiving their gifts and responding to their unique needs. They will learn how people with dementia contribute to the community and the church’s life and mission, discovering practical ways those contributions can be identified, nurtured, and incorporated into the church’s life and ministry.
Ministry with the Forgotten, available on Amazon.
Religious faith is a powerful source of comfort and support for individuals and families facing dementia. Many faith leaders need help in adapting their ministries to address the worship/spiritual needs of this group. A product of Faith United Against Alzheimer’s, this handbook by 45 different authors represents diverse faith traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Native American. It provides practical help in developing services and creating dementia friendly faith communities.
It gives an understanding of the cognitive, communicative and physical abilities of people with dementia and shows what chaplains, clergy and lay persons can do to engage them through worship. Included are several articles by persons living with dementia.
Dementia Friendly Worship, available on Amazon.
Spirituality in Dementia Care (DVD)
Do you run a faith-based organization and would like to know how to best help a person living with dementia and their family stay connected to their community of faith?
Learn with dementia expert Teepa Snow and Rev. Linn Possell about basic spiritual needs throughout life, what may or may not change when someone is living with dementia, and how to best meet those needs.
- which spiritual needs remain when a person is in the midst of brain change
- how to connect with the spirit of someone living with dementia to create a soul-to-soul relationship
- how to help family members better manage feelings of guilt, sadness, or grief
- how to offer the highest quality of life by focusing on what the person living with dementia is still able to do
- Over five hours of information, tips, and techniques
- link to a downloadable handout, so you can easily recall the learned information
Winner of the 2015 Caregiver Friendly Award, Seasons of Caring offers the gifts of hope, encouragement, compassion and empathy to those on the difficult journey of caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
The book is organized around themes and metaphors of seasonal transition, with each of the four seasons paralleling the various stages of life. The 141 entries open with quotes from scripture, sacred text or other inspirational text. The original writings by seventy-two authors representing a great diversity of spiritual traditions range from thoughtful meditations to poignant personal stories, moving poems and meaningful songs. Each is followed by a prayer and words of comfort and encouragement.
The book is a product of the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s Network, an interfaith national network of clergy, laity, and faith organizations working to focus attention on improved treatment, better care and a cure for dementia. It’s also an educational tool for support groups and advocates. Inspiring and uplifting, Seasons of Caring champions the dignity of all those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and is a powerful resource in raising awareness about this disease and helping to remove its stigma.
ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s is a network of USAgainstAlzheimer’s.