Practical Grace in Alzheimer’s Care

 

Family members coping with Alzheimer’s report an overall disconnect from the church when the diagnosis becomes obvious.  A daughter lamented, Dad went from a daily mass attendee and chairman of the Building committee to an isolated stay-at-home whose morning wandering was surely attributable to seventy five years of spiritual attendance.

A devout spouse shared, Larry used to be on the Finance committee.  Every Sunday he joined them to count the offering. They asked me to keep him away because he was no longer counting well.  It was heartbreaking to keep him away.  I had to quit attending, it was just too difficult.  Experiences like these are too numerous to recount.  Pillars of the church felled by dementia, cognitively and spiritually adrift.

Practical Alzheimer’s Care empowers faith communities to effectively minister to individuals and families coping with a dementia diagnosis. Using the latest in Alzheimer’s research Practical Grace addresses the spiritual needs of both the caregiver family and the individual with Alzheimer’s or a related diagnosis.

Practical Grace’s Five Strategic Stones–Ammo for Alzheimer’s

 

Alzheimer’s caregivers often feel they are facing a giant much as David did facing Goliath.  Like David, their strengths do not necessarily align with the task at hand.  Traditional armor seems to fail.  But when David switched to his slingshot, and five stones; the fight evened out.  David had five stones, but only used one.  Alzheimer’s research promotes five key strategies to engage with Alzheimer’s overwhelming characteristics.

slingshot and five stones

  • Take measure–David and Goliath’s story is rife with measurements.  As caregivers we need to assess the individual’s unmet need; the environmental factors contributing to the behavior; the scenario as it has transpired before.
  • Simplify–Whether it is verbage; environment; choices; steps—simplification is often the strategy that “fixes” the encounter
  • Personalize–using the person’s biography as clues and cues; stepping into their world; remembering that the brain is filtering from a previous age
  • Validate–affirming the individual’s emotion as expressed; never arguing; practicing a centering breath; using improvisation to discern the underlying emotion
  • Sensualize–use the five senses with the sixth sense as well to focus the individual on the task; the goal

When Alzheimer’s or a related diagnosis overwhelms the caregiver, one of these five strategies is guaranteed to slay the giant.  This is but one example of how Practical Grace applies scripture to the journey of Alzheimer’s.

To schedule Dr. Cate for a Practical Grace training or support group, contact her at catemccarty@gmail.com or 813 384-7571.