Hope as a Journey
Assessing for Hope
As a chaplain working with older adults in long-term care, part of my call is to complete spiritual assessments with residents. In obtaining their spiritual histories, I use the HOPE model
. The tool allows me to talk with residents about what brings them hope and joy among other things. When a resident arrives to the community,...
Small Groups: Big Connections
Connecting Through Small Groups: A Story
Last week, at the continuing care retirement community where I serve, the speaker for our senior class group that day called two minutes before class was to start and canceled. With a room full of residents waiting on the speaker, I told them she was unable to come. Rather than disbanding the group on...
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...
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...
Finding One’s Voice through Singing: A Story of 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.
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...
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...
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....
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...
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...