Dementia changes everything―and not just for the person who receives the diagnosis.
Each of the 5.6 million Americans with dementia has one or more caregivers struggling to make meaning while watching their loved one’s personality vanish. The caregiver is sure to be changed―not only by the myriad tasks and responsibilities, but by the soul-searching questions: Dare I hope? Who’s to blame? What do I do with my anger? Where’s God in this? These questions of doubt, guilt, intimacy, depression, and acceptance are ultimately questions of spirit.
Walking Each Other Home: Spiritual Companionship for Dementia Caregivers offers a way to explore the normal and extremely varied spiritual issues that dementia caregivers face. The responses dementia caregivers experience seem initially to be full of paradox but come to be understood as non-dualities, such as feeling anger and acceptance, resentment and thankfulness, intimacy and loneliness. The reader finds that “either/or” becomes “both/and.”
Instead of telling the reader how to respond to an issue, I share an account of my experience followed by Reflections, where some research on the topic is provided. This is followed by Wisdom in the form of short quotes and poems to open the reader to personal reflection. Each section concludes with For your consideration, some questions posed to help the reader privately explore their own journey.
December 2021, Pilgrim Place
With Hearts and Hands Webinars
Today, more than 16 million Americans are caring for someone suffering from dementia. Caregivers can be a forgotten lot, with so much emphasis necessarily being on the person with dementia and the disease itself. I lead this series of three conversations focused on supporting dementia caregivers, produced by the Church Pension Group of the Episcopal Church.
The webinar format is a 15-20 minute presentation of material, then a 15 minute interview with two caregivers. That is followed by questions from the audience.
Webinar 1 – You Are Not Alone
In conversation with current caregivers, this first session addresses just what it is that dementia caregivers face, what caring really is, and assurance that they are not alone. Recorded February 25, 2021.
Webinar 2 – A Peculiar Kind of Grief
Losing the relationship with a loved one is ambiguous and complicated. This webinar will cover the concepts of chronic sorrow, anticipatory grief, and ambiguous loss as well as some ways to be with our grief. Recorded March 25, 2021.
Webinar 3 – What is Our Hope?
April 22, 2021, 2:00—3:00PM EST (US and Canada)
Hope and the dementia caregiver. Looking for the bright points within the realities of care. Posted May 10, 2021.
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