Book of Alzheimer’s for African-American Churches
This manual is a brief overview of AD, dementia, and caregiving. The primary intended audience is African-American church leaders who want to help families or individuals in their communities cope with dementia, particularly AD. African-American church leaders are in good position to be sources of information because “African-American families look to their churches and ministers for guidance in their times of need,” say the authors. The manual is a cooperative effort by experts in dementia research and care; advocates for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease research, education, and support; and members of the African-American faith community.
The information in the first three chapters provides important information for any group dealing with these diseases:
- Differences between dementia and AD
- Progression of AD
- Warning signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Preparing to visit a doctor
- Common causes of behavioral changes
- Dealing with common behavioral issues such as aggression, sleep problems, wandering, personal hygiene, and driving
- Maintaining safety
Chapter 4 discusses the impact of AD and dementia on African-Americans, noting that dementia is more common among African-Americans than Caucasians. Some theories about this disparity are examined. A chapter summarizes lessons learned by the Kentucky group through their experience working with African-American families. It concludes with a discussion of the role of faith and spirituality in caring for a person with dementia.
Several groups from other states have asked to replace the pictures and vignettes in this book with their own to make it more locally relevant. For example, the Texas Area Agency on Aging in Houston made changes and printed 15,000 copies.
“Memory Sunday: A Guide for Pastors and Church Leaders” offers three sermon suggestions. Each suggestion is complete with a topic, preaching points with accompanying scripture references, and a list of songs appropriate for the respective topic. The topics are:
- Can You Drink from the Cup?
- Suffering: Punishment, Problem, or Opportunity
- Why Me, Lord?
Pastors and church leaders are encouraged to designate a Memory Sunday during the month of November in recognition of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month.
“Memory Sunday Toolkit Part 1: Adult Bible Study” centers around the theme, A.W.E.S.O.M.E. LOVE. Having a memory disorder or being a caregiver takes an AWESOME share of strength, knowledge, and LOVE. Seven Bible lessons are included:
“Memory Sunday Toolkit Part 2: Children’s Bible Study” was written for 2nd and 3rd Graders, but it can be adapted for other grades and used in various settings. This Bible Study provides Crafts, Activities, Real life application, and Entertainment.
Granny Pearl DVD
In 2007, our ADC worked with the faith community to develop a live performance, Granny Pearl, to educate African-American youth about AD. Actors were volunteers from our partner churches and the director was a volunteer recruited from UK’s theater department. Three performances were held reaching 300. A DVD of the performance and a toolkit were developed and shared with local churches and the local Alzheimer’s Association to continue local AD awareness efforts. Copies of the Granny Pearl CD and toolkit are available by request. Call 859-323-6040.
Spinal Fluid Donation for Alzheimer's Research Video
In a seven-minute video, available for viewing on the University of Kentucky's YouTube channel, Dr. Greg Jicha narrates the spinal fluid donation procedure as it is performed on him. Other researchers from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging join Jicha in providing facts about Alzheimer's disease and the importance of spinal fluid in Alzheimer's research.(Viewer advisory: This video depicts an actual medical procedure. Hypodermic needles and blood are shown.)
For more information on spinal fluid donation and Alzheimer's, contact the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (859) 323-5550.