Jennifer, thanks for sharing the info about the book you’ve used  I look forward to reviewing it for possible use here.  I’m very much OK with folks with dementia being included in our regular services.  I’ve never had anyone complain or question the use of Jesus Loves Me.  We use it occasionally and as I think about it I recall that it is our dementia folks who really respond positively to it.We do a Bible study on Wednesday afternoon just for our dementia care folks.  It is a self contained program just as David mentioned about his setting.  I think it is pretty common in communities that offer dementia/memory care to have it as a separate program.  I find with our dementia care folks that those things most familiar from childhood (songs, prayers, Scripture) tend to be well received as these things are most easily accessed in the memories and do bring a sense of comfort or encouragement to them, even if they can’t say so.  I am interested in learning from David or any of you who do specifically designed worship or other spiritual care for people living with dementia, specially in memory care programs.  We partner with our music therapist in a program we call Spirit Song where we use songs, quotes, poems, scripture, etc. to try to facilitate some discussion or some memory work around specific topics.  Recently we’ve done things like forgiveness, friendship and dignity/self worth just to give you an idea of our topics.  It is very hit or miss as to engagement from the residents.  I should say that most of the participants are health care, assisted living or memory support and many have some level of dementia.  We need to develop more use of tactiles objects, art work, etc. so that we might have more tools to use for engaging people.

Orlow, thank you for your insights particularly related to physical losses not leading to loss of sense of self. For guys, so much of our sense of self is tied up in our careers. Not uncommon as we get acquainted that we ask “what do or did you do for a living?” Less common are the conversations about who we are as a person, what gives us meaning apart from the work we do? I’m 63 and know that as I look forward to retirement one thing that does linger in my mind is the question of what I am going to do when I retire. It helps me to thing about “being” questions related to my faith and my purpose in retirement. Perhaps just being a child of God will be important for me to come to terms with as I prepare and actually do retire. Also from your reflection, I found the term “adventures in grace” to be interesting to ponder. Wasn’t sure about it at first but like it more and more as I think on it. Maybe that phrase will be a key concept to grasp as I work on simply being a child of God.

I am off for the 4 day labor day weekend and will rejoin you all on Tuesday.