Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Ministry with the Forgotten


How can churches help people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and their caregivers? Answering that question is the topic of a new, free resource now available from The United Methodist Church.

The five-part study, titled “Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Ministry with the Forgotten” includes downloadable videos and a leader’s guide. Retired Bishop Ken Carder wrote the resource based on his experiences caring for his wife, Linda, who was diagnosed in 2009 with frontal temporal dementia.

“(The resource) was created to start conversations and to generate action around caring for people who have Alzheimer’s and the people who care for them,” said Carder, who currently serves as chaplain at Bethany Memory Care Center at the Heritage of Lowman, a retirement center near Columbia, S.C., where he and Linda live.

The aim, Carder said, is that the new offering can help older adult ministry leaders and pastors, family and caregivers of those living with dementia, as well as persons in early stages of dementia.

Topics covered in the study, designed to be used in a small group setting, include impact and challenges of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; practical and specific ways local congregations can be involved in caring for those with dementia and their caregivers; and ways individuals can communicate, interact and worship with people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia.

To view the materials, click on the following link

Dementia Resources

The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor

In his new book, Arthur Kleinman, a psychiatrist and medical anthropologist, describes the ten years he spent caring for his wife, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s. and navigating an often unfeeling health-care system on her behalf.  Despite the social isolation and stress he suffered, he also found fulfillment and beauty in the experience and wrote this book to comfort and educate family caregivers and clinicians.

To learn more about the book and read an excerpt, click on the following link:


Meeting Dementia Patients’ Spiritual Needs

To connect to the Washington Post article, “Congregations attempt to meet the religious needs of people with dementia,”  click on the following link:

The article describes Spirit Alive, a weekly multisensory worship service for people with mid- to late-stage dementia and several other worship services that serve this population.  The article notes that research has found that sustaining a connection with worship and congregational life is a key contributor to quality of life for people with dementia.  It mentions the group Faith United Against Alzheimer’s, which offers resources for hosting monthly Memory Cafes for people with Alzheimer’s.  For more information on these resources, click on the following link: