My name is Elizabeth Shulman, and my mission is to empower families who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. I also work with churches and other community groups to help them provide stronger support for the growing number of caregivers in their community.
Welcome to my site.
Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer's is the only Bible study specifically designed to both offer spiritual support to caregivers and also educate those who want to support these caregivers. Experiencing scripture through the lens of personal stories, participants get to "walk in the shoes" of those caring for a loved one with dementia. The result is a greater understanding of the caregiver's role and a deeper empathy upon which an effective ministry can be built. The curriculum can be used in it's entirety or in sections, depending on the needs of the group. Separate sections address issues unique to: spouses, adult children caring for a parent and those wanting to help caregivers in specific ways. Whether you are a pastor looking for resources, a retirement community whose population includes caregivers, or a family member knee-deep in caregiving, Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer's will offer guidance for your journey. To find out more about this powerful, one-of-a-kind ministry, go to www.sanctuaryinthemidst.com
Congregations are uniquely positioned to provide support for people with dementia and their spouses. Yet, many pastors and congregations feel inadequate to provide the spiritual and emotional support needed. Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer’s is an excellent resource for individuals and congregations who want to be in ministry with this growing population. It is more than a "how to" book; it is an avenue into the world of dementia where God's redemptive presence creates community and transforms both the care givers and those receiving the care. I highly recommend this resource to every pastor and local congregation!
~ Bishop (Retired) Kenneth L. Carder, author of Ministry with the Forgotten: Dementia through a Spiritual Lens (Abingdon Press, 2019)
Williams Distinguished Professor, Emeritus
Duke Divinity School
Elizabeth Shulman has written a compassionate and practical book to guide religious communities to support husbands, wives and all family caregivers struggling to understand and cope with Alzheimer’s disease. The number of family caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s disease is growing rapidly as the population ages. Most family caregivers are overwhelmed and need the support of their religious communities. Dr. Shulman describes a program of Bible study that can offer help to congregants by preparing leaders to reach out to caregivers. Caregiver stories set the stage for each section and promote deep insight and empathy. This book will help communities combat stigma and abandonment that is a common problem families face.
Sanctuary is an outgrowth of her research when she was in seminary. Her stories of families illuminate the journey of husbands and wives as they adjust to changes in a loved one who is ill. As a nurse researcher on family caregiving, I found her book fascinating and very readable-her work resonated with my own research findings. The outcome of the program she describes will likely be a more supportive community and personal and spiritual growth for congregants. I highly recommend it.
~ Christine Williams, DNSc,RN,PMHCNS-BC.
Professor Christine E Lynn College of Nursing
Florida Atlantic University
Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer’s is a much-needed guide for family members caring for their companion or parent. In the confusion and anxiety related to Alzheimer’s disease, there cannot be enough guidance for the caregiver. They suffer tremendously in their need to care for their loved one. Sanctuary in the Midst gives them the spiritual guidance needed. Caregivers, in times of stress, question many things, including their faith. This program helps caregivers get on track with their own spirituality while caring for their loved one. Excellent program, would recommend for any dementia caregiver.
~ Mary Finn
Director of Administrative Services
Alois Alzheimer Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
This study guide is a gem! It is just what a lot of congregations are looking for to engage hard-to-engage folks, build relationships among members, deepen healing ministry, and educate the whole congregation. Dr. Shulman brings decades of research and practical experience to bear in this approachable, user-friendly toolkit.
It's a tough subject, one that most folks hope they never need to learn much about. The local congregation may be one of the few places in a lot of communities that is equipped to provide loving leadership in tackling the nuts-and-bolts information, busting the myths, and moving participants from fear and shame to compassion and action.
On one level, this study guide is simply a practical approach to helping congregation members cope with a difficult family situation--but there's more to it than that. At a time when disorders impacting mental capacity are still stigmatized, this study guide can help congregations reconnect with their role as "sanctuaries"--safe spaces for those who are suffering. And on a deeper level, developing a ministry grounded in Shulman's process will allow people of faith to bridge the gap between its internal, member-focused ministries and the needs of the wider community.
As someone who works with communities of all faiths on developing "justice" ministries, I am constantly struck by how congregations miss the opportunity to connect their internal programming to their prophetic activities. "Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer’sis a perfect example of how providing comfort to specific individuals can build the congregation's ministry to a hurting world.
~ Bee Moorhead
Texas Impact and Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy
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