Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bible Study with Alzheimer's Patients

Several weeks ago, the parish received a call from the program coordinator (or as I like to refer to her, the cruise director) at Somerford Place, a residential facility here in Redlands for Alzheimer’s patients (an extremely nice facility, BTW). There are several churches and religious groups in the area that periodically come in and do worship or Bible study. The "cruise director" wanted to know if Trinity would be interested in doing something similar, providing a more mainline perspective (most of the other groups tend to be a little more on the fundamentalist-evangelical end of the spectrum). David (the rector) and I talked about it and he said he really doesn’t have time to add another program, but if I wanted to do it, go ahead. I decided it would be interesting to at least give it a try. So, I contacted Somerford Place and agreed to do a trial run of every other Mondays during June to see how things go.

Yesterday was the first attempt. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I have no experience dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. I didn’t know what to expect. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. There were about 25 people present. Now, about a quarter of them were dozing, but everyone else seemed to be at least somewhat engaged. And there were about five or six who did respond to questions and invitations to share their own insights.

Being the day after Pentecost, I decided to focus on that. I started off with a little discussion about Pentecost. Then I focused on Romans 8:22-27, the Epistle lesson for Pentecost. After one of the patients read the lesson, I essentially gave a recap of my
sermon from Sunday. I thought that would be good because in my sermon I focused on how the Holy Spirit is always with us, particularly in times of need. I thought the patients just might be able to relate to that. And they did. After my reflection, I invited people to comment and add their own insights or experiences. There were several people who did open up and talk a little about times of need in their own lives. There were a number of occasions when someone would come up with something that might have seemed tangential or even unrelated to the topic of discussion, but I was generally able to take such comments and use them as a springboard for further discussion.

The Holy Spirit definitely was present in our time together. My initial concerns and uncertainty were quickly dispelled and I felt pretty comfortable with the way things went. Actually, I was pretty surprised that things went so well for the first time out of the chute. I can hardly wait to see what will happen in two weeks.


Kristina said...

Try to take some of the childrens stories you can find or Study Guides for Youth. Probably you have to adjust them a little bit but its a good starter.

My friend does Bible studies in her ministry at a Care Home. She makes the expierence that simple stories from the Bible help to get into conversation and to connect.

Maybe that helps you.

Alzheimer’s clinic Toronto said...

Nobody can it's easy because caring for a loved one with Alzheimers disease is difficult at best.

Alzheimer’s clinic Toronto

Linda said...

I am so glad that there are some ministering to these. One of my revelations with aphasia relative to recent glioblastoma surgery made me cogniten of the lost some face. I realized that the lost of family and friends is not as deep as it goes...the lost of the reality of the personhood of God and His existence was the greatest loss of all. Our very essence. Do you think there comes the point that God just folds them in His arms as he would a newborn? I would like to think so.