by Nancy Gordon, Director California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View Centers for Spirituality and Aging, a Front Porch Partner
Today, just a few days before Christmas, I am struck by how thankful I am to be at the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging involved in a variety of efforts to support those who care for older adults in nurturing and sustaining the spiritual dimension of the aging journey.
Our workshops this year focused on Alzheimer’s disease, beginning with Jade Angelica and her workshop on “Meeting Alzheimer’s,” which offered some experiential improvisational exercises to hone our communication skills. In April Cordula Dick-Muehlke deepened our understanding of person-centered dementia care, stressing both the personal caregiving skills needed and the organizational setting that enables person-centered care to happen. And then this fall, Judith-Kate Friedman inspired us with her use of music to enhance the journey of aging with dementia for both caregiver and care receiver.
I’ve had the privilege of putting some of my thoughts in writing with the newsletter and on the web. For Alzheimer’s Awareness month I wrote “Alzheimer’s Caregivers – Create a New Lens, Explore the Opportunities” about creating a new outlook for responding to the disease that was published on Ask.com. Earlier in the year they also published “Touching Spirits” an article about the importance of spirituality in programming. Our director emeritus, Don Koepke, is in the final editing phase of a book, The Essential Spirit, which the Center is publishing next year. It was fun to write a chapter for that and to co-write the final chapter with Don. You’ll be hearing more about it in 2015!
And there is more great stuff coming in 2015! In October we will be hosting the 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality in Los Angeles.
Vital Connections in Long-Term Care – February 19 & 26
One of the spiritual issues of aging is keeping and creating connectedness with oneself, others, the wider world and the sacred or significant. That’s why this practical, experiential workshop by the authors of Vital Connections in Long-Term Care is so important. They will emphasize the spirituality of relational connections in the aging process and provide practical ways of strengthening connections in the settings where care for the aging occurs.
California Lutheran Homes Turns 15! – April 13 & 14
We’re celebrating 15 years of service to the aging community with a two-day event, April 13 and April 14 at Walnut Village in Anaheim, CA. Day one will celebrate congregational ministry to the aging. On day two we feature Wendy Lustbader presenting a workshop titled, “Beyond Care: Exploring the Glorious Adventure of the Spirit.” Wendy was one of the first presenters when the Center opened in 2000, and it’s an honor to be able to have her come back. Stay tuned for more about this two-part event.
From all of this, I think you can see why I feel blest to be here now. It’s a deep privilege to bring together so many people who love working with older adults and supporting their spiritual journey. May your year be blest with great joy.