faith in action

Ministry and advocacy: Alzheimer's and dementia

There are nearly 6 million people living with dementia in the U.S. Alzheimer's is a factor in half a million of deaths each year. United Methodists can put our faith into action by building ministries that welcome and support people living with Alzheimer's or dementia and families and advocating for change.

The Golden Cross Foundation for the Adult/Older Adult Ministries of the Tennessee Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church released a five-part study on Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The study is designed to help congregations discover the theological ground to minister with people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families. Retired Bishop Ken Carder was inspired to create the study after caring for his wife, Linda, who has a form of dementia.

Carder said in the news release announcing the study, “The church has the unique opportunity – even responsibility – to minister to the needs of people who are suffering from neurological cognitive disorders, as well as the families and medical professionals who care for them.”

Advocacy is an important part of ministering with people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Church and Society is a member of the Faiths United Against Alzheimer’s coalition, a project of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. The coalition works to mobilize the faith community to promote dignity, compassionate care and quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s and provide support for their families while calling on industry leaders, community stakeholders and policymakers to work urgently to find disease-modifying treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

A bipartisan group of legislators, working in close partnership with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, introduced the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an END (CHANGE) Act earlier this year. The CHANGE Act would — according to a joint press release — "encourage early assessment and diagnosis…relieve some of the burden on caregivers and accelerate progress to disease-modifying treatments.”

We hope that you will expand your ministry with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia through using the five-part study and by asking your members of Congress to co-sponsor the CHANGE act.