Faith and Health Partnerships Monthly

Our core belief: Drawing on the wisdom of our religious traditions and the best social and public health science, we believe that positive, mutual relationships and the intentional practice of faith are at the heart of what creates equitable health and well-being for individuals, congregations and communities.

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

Welcome to the June 2023 issue of Faith and Health Partnerships Monthly, a resource toolkit for faith leaders.


This month, we offer information and tips to help you support your members living with memory loss and their caregivers. This issue includes information on:


  • Supporting the spiritual life of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Creating a welcoming environment
  • Caregiver support ideas
  • Brain health resources


If you have questions or topic ideas for future issues, please reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you!

Download and share this bulletin insert with members of your congregation.

Supporting the spiritual life of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

According to UsAgainstAlzheimer's, "Faith is integral to how individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cope with the tremendous uncertainty, decline and loss that invariably accompanies this disease. In response, many faith communities across the country have implemented creative, meaningful ways to support the spiritual life of these families."


Examples include:


Fully including members with memory loss in the life of the congregation. Doing so can allow them to flourish and feel a sense of purpose in using their skills to help others.


Ask members with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to participate in service projects and congregational events, like study groups, concerts, plays, outings, and preschool programs, or participate in worship by arranging altar flowers, preparing communion elements, handing out bulletins or doing a reading, for example.


“Make maintaining the self-esteem of persons with dementia more important than productivity and make integrating them into the life of the faith community a priority,” writes Jade C. Angelica in her article, Alzheimer's Caring: How Faith Communities Can Serve People with Dementia and Their Families.


Adapting or designing worship services specifically for persons with dementia. Keep services short and simple to help members feel more engaged and better able to concentrate. Use traditional songs, music, spiritual symbols and familiar prayers and scriptures to bring comfort and engage the senses. See other ideas: Dementia-Friendly Worship.


If a member can no longer attend worship or congregational events in person, bring a recording of the service or share an online link if the service was streamed.


Sources: Dementia Friendly America, Act on Alzheimer's, Us Against Alzheimer's

Download flyer to share.

The Power of Relationships

"Personhood is not defined solely by our corporal bodies or our cognitive abilities, but rather by our relationships with others… If we should forget God, God will not forget us. And if we forget God, our community of faith can remember us to God and bring God’s presence into our lives through means that do not require us to grasp that presence cognitively."


Excerpt from Aging, Dementia, and the Faith Community: Continuing the Journey of Friendship, Author John T. McFadden.  

Creating a welcoming environment for members affected by memory loss

Use dementia-friendly communication skills, like warmly greeting those with memory loss, even if you think they do not remember you. If they seem confused, remind them who you are. Keep communication simple; ask one question at a time. Connect on an emotional level even if the conversation topics shift or do not make sense to you.


Create a dementia-friendly physical space:


  • Wear name tags.
  • Provide a quiet area where members may go during the service as needed.
  • Display signs that clearly identify areas such as restrooms. Use simple images or color-coded signs to help members find their way through the building.
  • Assess congregation facilities for safety and accessibility.
  • Make sure buildings are well lit.
  • Keep the building at an appropriate temperature.
  • Have a family/unisex restroom to allow caregivers to assist their loved one. 


Sources: Dementia Friendly America, Act on Alzheimer's, Us Against Alzheimer's

Download flyer to share.

Caring for caregivers

Create a support group in your house of worship or through a cluster of congregations in your community.


Establish a Memory Café, a safe and supportive gathering for persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their care partners. Can include time to interact, share concerns, and enjoy fun and engaging activities, like singing, games, art project, or other creative activity.


Offer to help caregivers with errands, chores, and tasks. This can include getting their loved one ready for worship services, arranging transportation, grocery shopping, doing yardwork, and more.


Make sure caregivers are managing their own health care needs. Recognize signs of care partner stress, such as anger, social withdrawal, anxiety about the future, and sleeplessness, and encourage caregivers to seek mental health services if necessary.


Help caregivers create and manage a care plan. Learn more about free care consultations available through the Alzheimer’s Association in Illinois and Wisconsin.


Arrange respite care, so caregivers can run errands, attend to personal needs, or simply enjoy time with a friend. Congregational volunteers can lead art, physical exercise, music, games, and other activities for family members with dementia to enjoy. Learn about respite-care training programs in Wisconsin and Illinois.


Sources: Dementia Friendly America, Act on Alzheimer's, Us Against Alzheimer's

Download and share with your members.

Dementia Care Partner Support Groups

June 2, July 7, Aug. 4, Sept. 1

10:30 a.m. - noon


Dementia care partner online support group


June 21, July 19,

Aug. 16, Sept. 20

2:00-3:30 p.m.


Lewy Body Dementia care partner online support group

Visit the Alzheimer's Association website to find virtual support groups near you.

Learn how to accompany those impacted by Alzheimer's disease and dementia

Join a training to learn the Companionship Model


Companionship teaches a way for us to be present to each other in times of stress. The approach is rooted in our natural capacities as human beings to be sensitive, compassionate, and concerned. It acknowledges that many times, simple acts of caring by others can carry us through hard times.


As Companions, we learn to care for each other with good boundaries through five basic practices: hospitality, neighboring, journeying side-by-side, listening, and accompaniment.

We offer virtual and in-person trainings for people of all faiths and spiritual traditions throughout the year. Click here to learn more or to set up a training.

A comprehensive & compassionate approach to treating Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia

The physicians and staff at the Advocate Memory Center thoroughly evaluate each patient's unique situation to diagnose the cause of the cognitive changes, develop a care plan and offer guidance and support to the patient and their care partners.

Click here to schedule an appointment and learn more.

The neuro specialists at Aurora Health Care offer a wide range of services, from diagnosing patients who are experiencing memory loss, to offering a personalized treatment plan that may include medications, specialized physical, occupation, and speech therapies, and more.

Learn more and locate an Alzheimer’s specialist near you.

Brain health resources

BrainGuide is a platform offering private memory questionnaires, tailored brain health resources and education in English and Spanish.

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) test is designed to detect early signs of cognitive, memory or thinking impairments. You can download a mobile app version of the SAGE test at https://Braintest.com.

Click here to access articles about brain health and other wellness topics from health enews, a news service of Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care.

Resources for your faith community

Resources: Creating a Dementia-Friendly Faith Community

2023 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures

Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers

Aging Together. The authors' inclusive vision calls for social institutions, especially faith communities, to build supportive, ongoing friendships that offer hospitality to all persons, regardless of cognitive status.

Inherent worth: What the church can learn from people with dementia

L'Chaim! A simple picture book designed for people living with dementia. Includes imagery that is unique and precious to Jewish life, along with easy-to-read captions in large print.

Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older. Author Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman offers guidance to help readers make greater meaning and flourish amid the challenges of aging. One chapter is titled, "Making sense of dementia's brokenness."

Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Bulletin Insert


Brain Health and Alzheimer's Awareness Bulletin Insert

Upcoming events

Become a Faith and Health Companion


Freshstart virtual smoking cessation program

Tuesdays, June 6-27 | 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Companionship Workshop

June 7 | 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Human Trafficking Awareness Workshop

June 14 | noon-2:00 p.m.

3039 E. 91st Street, Chicago


Camp Kangaroo

June 23-25

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta Street

River Forest, IL


Childhood Experiences Shape Lifelong Health: Science We Can Use Personally

June 28 | 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Providence Bank & Trust

7801 South State Street Chicago


Just Eating? A Faith Practices Approach to Eating Well

June 23 | 9:00 a.m.

See details about these events here.

Live Your Faith. Love Your Community. Donate Blood.


Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care offer numerous opportunities to donate blood throughout the month of June.

Sign up today!

Health observances for June

Who We Are

Faith and Health Partnerships


We work side-by-side with faith communities to promote health equity by mobilizing the transforming power of social connectedness and spiritual wisdom.


Our core belief: Drawing on the wisdom of our religious traditions and the best social and public health science, we believe that positive, mutual relationships and the intentional practice of faith are at the heart of what creates equitable health and well-being for individuals, congregations and communities.


Learn more about our work:


Illinois flyer in English and Spanish


Wisconsin flyer in English and Spanish

We blend the strengths of Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care with the strengths of your congregation to improve the health of those in your community. 

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