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Love: How Music Brings Abundant Life in Community

I serve a community where music is valued as one way to connect with others. Through our Music & Memory program, several residents have an iPod personalized with music they love — music that means something to them. One of our residents loves her music but does not enjoy wearing her headphones. For this resident, who loves people...

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Narrative Gerontology and the Importance of Storytelling

The Importance of Storytelling and Story Listening
I was saddened by the recent death of poet Mary Oliver. In the wake of her death, I spent time reading various pieces she had written over the span of her life. As I was working on this blog, I ran across one of her poems that spoke volumes to me about...

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Finding One’s Voice through Singing: A Story of Love

Advent: Love

During worship at United Church Homes' Fairhaven Community, we light a candle each week in Advent as we travel the four Sundays to Christmas Eve. Each candle represents a different theme during the Advent journey. While the first three Sundays reflect hope, peace and joy, the fourth Sunday this year, Dec. 23, represents the theme of love.


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Whole-Person Care at the End of Life

I recently went to the doctor for an initial consultation. After the doctor entered the room and shook my hand, she did something which, to me, was amazing. She sat down, looked me in the eye and compassionately said, “Tell me your story.” This doctor had my chart. She knew my medical history. I knew from a few things she...

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Worship for Those Living with Dementia Brings Abundant Life

Mr. Mason was actively involved in his church community. He attended worship and Bible study regularly. If there was an event at the church, Mr. Mason was there. He assisted in many ways. His church community was important to him and had been since he was a child. When Mr. Mason was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he continued to be...

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Say What? Neighborhood

I grew up in a rural neighborhood in Wayne County. It was the place where I rode my bicycle in the summer, took walks with my dogs and family and played with other children and my siblings. While in junior high school, I won an opportunity to fly in a small plane with a teacher who was also a pilot....

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Release as Spiritual Practice

Breathe in and give yourself a hug. Exhale and release your breath. Breathe in and raise your hands in the air above your head. Bring your hands down and release your breath. These are a few of the meditative exercises I do with residents living with dementia before worship. One woman frequently smiles and closes her eyes as she releases...

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The Spiritual Practice of Creativity

In her article Top 10 Spiritual Practices for Older Adults Living at Retirement or Long-Term Care Communities, Nancy Gordon notes, “For many, spirituality is the core of who they are and their way of being in the world.” She goes on to discuss “spiritual practices that can deepen our awareness of the essential spiritual part of life and provide frameworks...

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Intergenerational Christmas Pageant Fosters Abundant Life

It was a cold December during Advent. Members of the small, intergenerational congregation I had been called to serve a few months before that night began arriving at the church. We were gathering for the annual Christmas pageant. This Christmas pageant, however, was unlike any Christmas pageant in which the congregation had previously participated and we were all about to...

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Intergenerational Interaction: A Blessing

This is the first blog in the November series highlighting topics related to Thanksgiving. A few years ago, Rev. Beth Long Higgins, executive director of the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging, wrote a Bible study entitled Transforming Aging. The Bible study is meant for use by congregations as a conversation starter on the topic of aging. It...

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2017 Community Benefits Report

Comprehensive Campaign for Abundant Life

Learn more about the historic effort to raise $20 million over five years through the Comprehensive Campaign for Abundant Life at United Church Homes.

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