Today was a good day at the resident dayroom. I have been encouraging the residents to join me in observing the morning office. I had a group of nine that were very involved and aware as we practiced verbal prayer and Scripture. Most of those who participate are in the middle stages of dementia. Most of them will not remember their participation by the time afternoon rolls around. I always remind them that they might not remember but God does.
After the time of prayer I sit around with a group of five residents and talked with them about God and prayer. I understand that it is not wise to ask those who are suffering with dementia too many questions (questions can call confusion and it all draws their attention to there cognitive disability) so just use words like God, prayer, Bible, or some other faith related word and let them respond as they like. I have developed a close enough relationship of trust with these residents that they are willing to express themselves knowing that I will listen and not judge.
I started off with the statement. I remember when I began to realized there is a God. A couple of the residents began to talk about their memories of Sunday School. Another stated that she realize there was a God when God answered her prayer. She then stated, “In fact, that is when I feel closest to God.”
We spent forty-five minutes in verbal ping-pong over matters of God, faith, and love. My heart was blessed. I can remember when it was difficult to get a church member to talk five minutes about their faith. I am finding that being a spiritual director/life enrichment assistant to people with dementia to be more rewarding to my life than I ever felt as a “professional minister.”
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Amen.