22. What can we do with a dozen or two?

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out … (Mark 3:13-14a NIV).


2018-06-02 09.21.13

Last Saturday morning (2nd June 2018) I had the privilege of leading “Discussing Dementia 1: An Overview” at Roseville Uniting Church on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. About two dozen people courageous saints attended, learning together and sharing the delicious morning tea.

2018-06-02 09.21.34

Some people may think that two dozen is quite a small number, but we should never forget the impact that a small group of people can make. Jesus Himself only chose 12 apostles. The world “apostle” comes from a New Testament Greek verb which means “to send”. We see the root “post” when we talk about “posting a letter” – in other words, “sending a letter”. The “apostles” are therefore “those who are sent” – those sent by God to do His will. Those 12 apostles shared the Gospel – the Good News – with others. The Christian Church is the result: arguably over 2 billion people in the world today who claim to be Christian – to be followers of Christ!

What can the two dozen people who attended my session at Roseville do? They can help educate others about dementia, reducing its stigma and ignorance. They can support those who are living with dementia and their carers. They can learn more e.g. through the two University of Tasmania MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) or in an EDIE session with Dementia Australia (pictured below) or by reading posts on this blog. They can tell others about my dementia sessions, and not just encourage people to attend, but come along with them for companionship and support.

EDIE flyer a

Above all, they can remind people that while dementia is a form of brain damage, the person living with dementia is made in the image of God, that God has breathed His life into them and given them life, and that God will never leave them nor forsake them. They can tell the wonderful Good News that while a person’s brain and body may be perishing, the person’s spirit remains whole and well and strong. Dementia may be the second leading cause of death in Australia, but nothing can kill the spirit!

I began Saturday’s session by congratulating the two dozen for having the courage to come to a session about dementia. I end this post by congratulating you for accessing my blog and reading this post. As God has sent me out to speak about dementia, may you hear His call and allow yourself to be sent out also.

With blessings,

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21. Tim England: A Dementia Champion

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way… LOVE (1 Corinthians 12:27-30).


To more fully understand dementia, and in turn to share this with others, it is vital that I keep up-to-date. I regularly look at different website (such as Dementia Australia, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Queensland Brain Institute, and Meaningful Ageing). I follow different organisations through Facebook, reading the articles and watching the videos which they post. I read current journals and try to read current books – particularly those which concern the forgotten dimension of spirituality and dementia.

A journal which I can definitely recommend is the Australian Journal of Dementia Care. Its articles are easy to read, informative, and current. In the February-March 2018 edition (pages 18-19) I was interested to read “A tale from a dementia champion”.  You can read the article by clicking this link:

A tale from a dementia champion

The Champion is Tim England. Tim has been gifted by God to be a Teacher, and he teaches with Love.

Tim England

Tim graduated in late 2016 with a Bachelor of Dementia Care from the University of Tasmania, and has practical experience working in the community with people living with dementia. He describes himself as follows:

Dementia Care specialist

Having attended one of Tim’s public presentations I can certainly recommend it. You will receive a very helpful booklet to take away:

The Facts about dementia - cover

While some of Tim’s content overlaps with the content in “Discussing Dementia 1: An Overview”, he includes information about his local region – the Ku-ring-gai region in Sydney’s north – and speaks about how it could become a Dementia-Friendly Community.

Dementia-Friendly communities

It is worth going to Tim’s website: www.dementiachampion.com and finding out more:

Website content

If you live in Sydney why not attend one of his sessions? You can never have enough education. Better yet, if you live in the Ku-ring-gai region, why not work with him and others to develop a Dementia-Friendly Ku-ring-gai!

With blessings,

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20. A Word of Hope

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Memorial service candles

Last night I was privileged to lead a Memorial Service at Northaven (Turramurra, NSW). We remembered those residents who had died in the past year. This was attended by relatives or friends of 11 of those residents, as well as current residents, staff, visitors and volunteers.

I thought that I would share my “Word of Hope” with you, my faithful readers. May it help you to see why I have such a passion for ageing and dementia.

A Word of Hope

In 2009 God called me out of Parish ministry into Aged Care. I announced it to my congregation with the words: “I am becoming a Uniting Church Ageing Chaplain”. Some of the people thought that was very funny: “an ageing Chaplain” – as if they weren’t ageing too! Can I say that since I started here in July 2009 – almost 9 years ago – I have seen a lot of ageing!

One of the problems of working in full-time Aged Care is that I don’t meet our residents when they are full of life and vigour. If a person doesn’t have significant care needs they simply can’t come into the Hostel. The Nursing Home is full of residents who are frail, palliative, or living with end-stage dementia. That’s the nature of aged care. We are all living longer, with all of the health problems that go with age. As the old joke says: “I will never be over the hill. I’m too tired to climb the hill!

Some people come to the Hostel or Nursing Home kicking and screaming. Others come placidly and peacefully. Some don’t understand where they are, while some fully understand and make a conscious decision to make the most of it. Some will settle quickly into their new home, while others will struggle.

I can’t remember what it was like when you – if you’re a resident – or your loved one first came to Northaven. I DON’T know how long it took for you, or for them, to settle in.

As I look at the list of names on our list I DO know that each resident, in their own way, endeared themselves to others – staff, residents, visitors, volunteers. I remember dear one resident complaining every Wednesday morning that she couldn’t go to Worship because she hadn’t had breakfast! Another greeted me with a winning smile every single visit – when sometimes she didn’t even smile at her husband. A third resident, because she was so mentally alert and so generous in spirit, touched everyone’s hearts. These are precious memories of precious people.

Many of our residents, particularly in the Nursing Home, are living with dementia. Dementia is challenging to all of us, because the person is slowly entering a world of their own – “the land of forgetfulness” as Eileen Shamy called it. Their memory fades, their behaviour can change, they lose the ability to speak, and eventually their physical functions diminish. They need help with showering and dressing, with toileting, and with eating. People who were once so independent become totally dependent on others.  It’s a challenge.

As I think about each of the residents on this long list, I am reminded again and again of how much they have taught me. So it isn’t true that you can’t teach an old dog – or an ageing one – new tricks!

The first thing most of these residents have taught me is the value of living in the present. Many could not remember their past, though we saw occasional glimpses of it. Their future was predetermined – Northaven was their final home. I remember once asking a dear resident on her 100th birthday: “What is the secret to living to 100?” She looked at me and said “I haven’t died!”. Ask a silly question … Many of our residents are living with dementia, and dementia is a terminal illness. In fact it’s now the leading cause of death for Australian women, and the second leading cause of death overall.

Most of residents on the list lived in the present moment. They lived in the NOW. They trusted others to provide for them in lots of different ways. They responded with love to those who showed them love. They weren’t burdened by the past, nor were they worried about the future. They simply lived in the NOW – and that was enough.

That’s what Jesus Himself tells His disciples to do in the Gospel of St. Matthew. “Don’t worry about tomorrow”, Jesus says. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”: clothing, food, drink, companionship, and peace. Trust God – for He will provide all your needs, according to His riches.

On another occasion, Jesus’ disciples ask him about prayer. He responds: “When you pray, pray like this: Our Father, who are in Heaven … Give us this day our daily bread”. What Jesus is saying that God our Father will give us the bread we need for that day – bread to eat, the companionship of those with whom we can eat, and so on. Jesus urges us to live in the now – to live for today. Jesus invites us to trust God in the here and now.

The famous words from the film “Dead Poet’s Society” are Carpe Diem: Seize the Day! Make the most of each day. Remember, it’s called the present, because it is a gift – a present!

The second thing each resident on the list has taught me is the value of care. Each resident needed and deserved care, and at Northaven we were privileged to provide it. That is, after all, God’s call: “To love our neighbour as we love ourselves”, to quote Jesus’ 2nd Great Commandment. Each resident reminded me that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” – because I had to give to them. But as I gave, I did receive: their smile, their affection, their love.

At the end of every single Worship service in the Nursing Home I walk around the room and bless every person by name. Many smile. Some kiss my hand. Some say: “Thank you”. One sings: “Jesus loves me, this I know”. Some will say: “And God bless you” – and my spirit soars and my heart sings, because I am truly blessed.

My friends, ageing and dementia are challenging to us all, but every resident has much to teach us. They – you – can teach us how to live with God in the moment – the present – the NOW. And they – you – can teach us the value of care – that we are blessed to be able to care for others, and blessed to have the humility to receive care.

Today, God invites us to live with Him in the present moment – and to journey with Jesus each and every day. God invites us to care for our fellow pilgrims on life’s journey, for we do not walk life’s road alone. So, may we “do unto others as we would like them to do unto us”, always remembering the truth that Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life … for many” (Mark 10:45).

So may we be blessed, to bless, this day, and forevermore.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, AMEN.


With blessings,

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19. Blessing the children – 2

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:16 NIV).


I was recently asked by a resident’s daughter if she thought it was suitable for her grandchildren – our resident’s great-grandchildren – to visit their Great-Grandma in the Nursing Home. They used to see her regularly, but they haven’t seen her for nearly a year and are wondering why they can’t see her anymore. What was my response?

I said that as long as she prepared her grandchildren for the visit that they would probably cope better than most adults! They need to know that Great-Grandma is confused and that she probably won’t recognize them. They might see her crying. She will certainly look different to the last time they saw her, because she has lost a lot of weight and looks much, much older. However, while she might not remember who they are, they know who she is – and her heart will remember them.

I don’t yet know whether the great-grandchildren have been in to visit. I certainly hope so. The children obviously wanted to, and why deny them – and their beloved Great-Grandma – the gift of one another? Why protect them from an illness – dementia – that is the leading cause of death of Australian women? Why shelter them from pain and loss, when they will encounter it many times in their lives?

Preparing children to visit a loved one with dementia is vital. While we can talk to them, we can also use some of the wonderful children’s books which either talk directly about dementia, or else touch on it. In previous blogs I have spoken about the books “Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge” (blog 6) and “This is my family” (blog 18).

I recently came across two other books that I can certainly recommend: “The Smell of Chocolate” and “My Gran’s Different”.

The Smell of Chocolate

The Smell of Chocolate” is written by Barbara McGuire. It was produced by Alzheimer’s Australia WA and concerns a young boy named Ben whose grandfather Pog has Alzheimer’s disease. The first part of the book is the story, where Pog and Ben make a cake to welcome The Queen. The story ends with this line: “The thing is, Alzheimer’s can happen to anyone’s grandparent – even one as tall and smart as my grandfather, Pog”. The second part of the book is entitled “Pog’s Alzheimer Fact File”. It contains facts about Dementia, Remembering, Forgetting, ‘Delusions, Hallucinations and Confabulations’, Feeling Connected, Hugs, Communicating, Today and in the Future, and a truly profound page about Identity entitled “Same Special Somebody” (page 27):

The Smell of Chocolate p.27

The second book “My Gran’s Different” contains fewer words and some delightful watercolour-style pictures. It’s about a boy named Charlie whose “gran is different” from his friends’ grandparents. It’s written by Sue Lawson and illustrated by Caroline Magerl.

My Gran's Different

One page shows them both:

My Gran's Different Charlie and Gran

A sentence on the back cover says it all: “A story of the love and complete acceptance that only a child can give”.

As I re-read those two books and thought about our dear resident at work and her great-grandchildren, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not she will be recognized as the “Same Special Somebody” – and whether she will receive the “love and complete acceptance that only [those children] can give”.

With blessings,

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18. Blessing the children

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:16 NIV).


One of the saddest aspects of being an Aged Care Chaplain is that some families rarely visit their mother or father who is living with dementia. Sometimes the families stop visiting altogether. Families include adult children, and of course grandchildren (and great-grandchildren).

There are many reasons why families don’t visit, but one of them is a lack of understanding of dementia. We all need to be educated.

It is only in recent years that effort has been put into educating people about Younger Onset Dementia – a diagnosis of dementia when the person is under 65. This is particularly difficult when the person is a parent with younger children. How can we educate these, and other, children?

In a past issue of the Alzheimer’s Australia (now Dementia Australia) magazine In Touch I came across the following book review:

Blog 18 - This is my family

This Is My Family
This is a children’s book for kids with a parent with younger onset dementia. Jack is 13 years old. He lives with his Dad, his Mum, his sister Amy and his dog Sam.

Dad has dementia. Something isn’t right in daddy’s brain and Jack can help him to do things.  This kids’ book tells the story of Jack whose father lives with younger onset dementia.

An engaging tale for any child who knows a younger adult with dementia, it has been written by dementia care specialists, Barbara Chambers and Karen Harborow, with characters by renowned children’s animator Eddie Mort.

Having purchased and read the book I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is truly an “engaging tale” which is beautifully written and illustrated. Add it to your library today!

With blessings,

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17. Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring – part 2

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8).

I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of [dementia] I will not fear, for Thou art with me – Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23).


What a privilege it was to present “Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring” at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tamworth last weekend. Nearly 160 people journeyed with me as we explored what it means to be a carer.

Since posting “Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring” on 30th April, I am able to provide some additional resources. Once again I have linked these to the Summary by using the section numbers e.g. Section G is “Where is God in dementia?” Sub-section G.11 is “A Carer’s story #2”.

On Friday night two people spoke about their journey:

C.5 – A Carer’s Story: Karen Gurney.

Karen’s father Bob was diagnosed a year ago with Alzheimer’s disease.

C.5 A Carer’s Story – Karen Gurney

G.11 – Where is God in dementia? Rev. Rod Chiswell.

Rev. Rod spoke about his mother’s faith in her journey with dementia. Betty Chiswell was wife to Bishop Peter Chiswell. They faithfully served God in the Armidale diocese.

G.11 A Carer’s Story #2 – Rev. Rod Chiswell

On Saturday morning we heard from these carers:

C.5 – A Carer’s Story: Geoff Bennett.

Geoff’s wife Helen died in October last year from Lewy Body dementia. Geoff spoke by me by phone and I transcribed our interview. This includes a very moving poem addressed to Geoff’s wife.

C.5 A Carer’s Story – Geoff Bennett

G.11 – Where is God in dementia? Karen Gurney

Karen shared about where she has seen God at work in her journey with her father’s Alzheimer’s disease.

G.11 A Carer’s Story #2 – Karen Gurney

I have also managed to find some clips to watch or listen to about people who are well worth exploring: Christine Bryden (who is living with dementia) and Rev. John Swinton (theologian and dementia expert). Here are these links:

Christine Bryden – “All in the mind” radio program:


John Swinton:

G.8 – 2016.06.24 – John Swinton on aged care

I recently came across a wonderful definition of dementia by Dr. Allen Power.  I included this in the “Discussing Dementia 1: An Overview – Recap” (section B.2 – “What is dementia?”). Traditionally the definitions of dementia are medically (clinically) based e.g. “Dementia is a form of brain damage”. While that’s true, it’s certainly not the whole story. Allen writes:

“I began to define dementia simply as ‘a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him’. Once I did that, a whole new world of insights opened up for me” (p.18).

He also touches on the almost entirely negative presentation of dementia in our community and media e.g. “The dementia epidemic”; “The dementia tsunami”. He writes:

“The Alzheimer’s WA volunteer project which connects newly diagnosed individuals with volunteer opportunities in their community is one I always point to as a powerful antidote to the ‘tragedy narrative’ around dementia” (p.19).

Here’s the article in full:

B.2 – AJDC Vol. 7 No. 2 pp.17-19 Looking beyond disease

God’s call on my life is to “be a bearer of hope and joy”. If I can help to reframe that existing “tragedy narrative” – the story of “tragedy” – into a “God is always with us narrative”, then I am fulfilling God’s call on my life. I am also helping His kingdom to come in the lives of those living with dementia, and all who are called to care.

Let me end as I began with the words of the Psalmist: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of [dementia] I will not fear, for Thou art with me – Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me”.

What is our hope and joy in dementia? That God is with us! That He will never leave us nor forsake us. That even in the darkest times God provides for us. That is the Good News.

With blessings,

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16. Preventing Dementia MOOC 2018

Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4).


In 2014 I had the privilege of completing the “Understanding Dementia” MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) through the University of Tasmania. As its name suggests, this is an online course which helps people to understand dementia. I was able to work at my own pace without having to do any exams. The lectures were given by qualified academics who had chosen excellent videos and clips. The whole course was free of charge, and I even received a certificate at the end.

In 2016 I completed the next in the series: “Preventing Dementia”. This was equally informative and sound.

My own “Discussing Dementia” presentations not only refer to these two MOOCs, but present some of their material. After all, why reinvent the wheel?

The next “Preventing Dementia” MOOC is open for registrations. To date nearly 13,000 people have signed up. The closing date for enrolments is 25th May, so sign up before it’s too late!

Preventing dementia MOOC 2018

The following link will take you to the UTAS site:


So, do yourself a favour. Learn, so that you can live well: living well now, and by helping to reduce your risk factors for dementia, living well into a ripe old age.

With blessings,

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15. Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring

Jesus said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth …

(Matthew 5:2b-5)

Discussing Dementia Poster 2018 - Top

On 4th and 5th May I will have the privilege of leading “Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring” at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tamworth. This builds on the first presentation “Discussing Dementia 1: An Overview” which I have been leading in Churches in NSW since 2016.

Each participant will receive a Summary handout of my presentation. This contains a number of web links to various sites, videos, audios and documents. It also refers to a number of documents. This Blog duplicates that Summary. It naturally falls short of the actual presentation which includes the Power Point presentation, actual Talk, and some interviews with Carers from Tamworth. If you’d like me to do the full presentation please contact me.

The “Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring” Presentation begins with a Blessing that was found in Booth Memorial Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. It aligns with Jesus’ Beatitudes which we find in Matthew 5. How can we be a blessing to those who are ageing, not just those with dementia?

Blessed are they

I invite you to read it – again and again. Each day God is blessing us – and calling us to be a blessing to others.  Put another way, may we always remember that receiving God’s blessing is not primarily for our own benefit. Rather, God calls us to share His blessings. In a nutshell, may each of us “Be blessed to bless“.

With this in mind (and heart and spirit), I invite you to look at the Summary of my presentation. This can be downloaded below:

2018.05.04-05 Discussing Dementia 2 – Tamworth – Talk Summary ONLINE

However, you will notice that the above Summary does not provide links to all of the resources that I discuss. That’s a shame, as I have collected some things that I believe you will find helpful. So, after I sign off you will find the Summary in full. Feel free to click on any of the links and download any of the resources. I hope that you will be blessed as you discover more about dementia and about caring. In turn, may it help you to bless others!

Be blessed, to bless,

With joy,

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“Discussing Dementia 2: On Caring” – Online Summary

A. Introduction & Blessed are they

B. “Discussing Dementia 1: An Overview” – Recap

See separate Handout:

2018.05.04-05 Discussing Dementia 2 – Tamworth – Talk Summary – B. Recap

C. On Caring

C.1     Who is the most important person? The person living with dementia or their carer?

          The carer!  “You can’t pour from an empty cup”.

C.2     We will explore:

  • How do we best care for persons living with dementia (PLWD*)?
  • How do carers best care for themselves?
  • How do we helpfully care for the carers?

C.3     Terminology: Dementia Australia “Dementia Language Guidelines”.


C.4     Story: Why continue to visit your wife living with dementia?

Because I still know who she is!

C4. I still remember who she is

C.5     A Carer’s story.

D. Organisations and Individuals

D.1    Dementia Australia: www.dementia.org.au.

a) Doing Stuff Together: Handout and Video.

2018.05.04-05 Discussing Dementia 2 – Tamworth – D.1 Doing stuff together

b) Website.

c) Dementia Daily (https://www.dementiadaily.org.au/)

e.g. Imelda Gilmore: “Someone to come alongside” 19.4.2018.

2018.03.14 Carer Imelda Gilmore

d) HELP Sheets. See the website.

e) Dementia-Friendly Communities: dementiafriendly.org.au.

D.2    Carers Australia

  • Website: carersaustralia.com.au.
  • An article: Carers flag respite shortage, Australian Ageing Agenda Apr-May 2018:

AAG p.8 Carers flag respite shortage

D.3    Carer Gateway (Federal Government)

D.4    Kate Swaffer

  • Reader’s Digest article (February 2017): Life beyond dementia.

Readers Digest – 2017.02 – Dementia

  • Book: “What the hell happened to my brain?”
  • Sheet: “20 things not to say or do”.

Swaffer – 20 things not to say or do

D.5    Christine Bryden

  • Before I forget: Christine Bryden’s struggle with early-onset dementia 22/12/2015: ‘The Doctor said, “You’ve got about five years until you are demented, and then another until you die.”’ ‘It was,’ Bryden says, ‘just unbelievably cruel.’

Before I forget_ Christine Bryden

  • Books:
    • Who will I be before I die?
    • Dancing with dementia
    • Will I still be me?
    • “Nothing about us, without us! 20 years of dementia advocacy”


E. The five griefs of dementia

Grief is a natural (God-given) response to loss and death.

The 5 griefs of dementia:

  1. When the person’s symptoms first begin.
  2. When the person is first diagnosed with dementia.
  3. When the person enters residential care.
  4. When the person is dying and dies.
  5. When the carer loses their role as carer.

Story: “Her heart remembered” by Lynne Walter Budnik.

2016.08.30 Her heart remembered

F. Film: “10 Glorious seconds”

See http://www.tengloriousseconds.com

G. Where is God in dementia?

G.1    Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) – Rephrased by me.

 G.2    Jesus’ Great Commandments

Jesus’ two great Commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Love your neighbour as yourself”. Explanation: Heart = body. Mind = brain. Soul = Spirit. So we are Body + Brain + Spirit.

 G.3    The breath of life

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

 G.4    Spiritual renewal

Our God-given spirit does NOT suffer from ageing or dementia. It remains whole, well and strong. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).

G.5    Spiritual Glory: Charles Wesley’s hymn “Love divine, all loves excelling

(verse 3): changed from glory into glory!

 G.6    Psalm 139: Our Daily Bread 22/10/2014.

Our Daily Bread 2014.10.22 – Dementia & Ps 139

 G.7    Dementia-Friendly Worship

  • Book of Common Prayer article (9/10/2016)

Book of Common Prayer and dementia

  • “Meaningful Ageing”: Dementia-Specific Christian Worship Service Handbook


G.8    John Swinton

  • Paper: “Gentle Discipleship.

2016.07.11 John Swinton – Gentle Discipleship

  • Book: “Dementia – Living in the Memories of God”

G.9    Hammond Care: Faith for Life

G.10  Teepa Snow and Lin Possell

  • http://teepasnow.com/
  • The gift of those living with dementia: they live in the present moment!
  • Book: “Dementia Guide for Faith Communities and Leaders”. Excerpt: “I am living with dementia” pp.69-70.

I am living with dementia pp.69-70

  • Videos e.g. Spirituality in Dementia Care.

G.11  A Carer’s Story #2

H. Dementia and Technology

H.1    Is there an App for that?

  • BPSD / Care4Dementia / Cultura / The Dementia Friendly Home / Google Earth / Photo Booth / Sound Hound / YouTube / amuseIT
  • My compilation: Is there an App for that? (See an earlier entry in this Blog).

H.2    EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive  Experience)


H.3    Centre for Cultural Diversity and Ageing

Centre for Cultural Diversity and Ageing 

H.4    My Aged Care (Federal Government): https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/


I.1      Sense of humour: Keep a sense of humour! “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”

I.2      Respite

  • Respite is a form of self-care. The dementia journey is a marathon.
  • “Respite care can support you and your carer with a break for a short period of time. This gives carers the chance to get to everyday activities or go on a planned break. Respite care may be given informally by family, friends or neighbours, or by formal respite care services” (myagedcare).
  • Give your children the opportunity to care!
  • Search the Dementia Australia & My Aged Care websites.

I.3      Driving

I.4      UTAS: https://mooc.utas.edu.au/courses

  • Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
  • Preventing Dementia MOOC
  • Bachelor of Dementia Care

I.5      Risk Factors for Dementia

  • The Lancet (Dec. 2017) – Can dementia be prevented? See Blog: “On Caring 2”.
  • Alzheimer’s Research UK – Reducing your risk of dementia. See the site


J. Resources

J.1     Project We Forgot (21.4.2018) – Living the long goodbye with my grandpa and dementia. See https://projectweforgot.com/your-aid/country/canada/living-the-long-goodbye-with-my-grandpa-and-dementia/.

Project We Forget 2018.04.21 – Living the long goodbye with my grandpa

J.2     Films e.g. Still Alice / The Iron Lady / The Notebook

J.3     TV: Mother & Son

J.4     Radio e.g. ABC “All in the mind”. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/

J.5     Printed material

  • Caregiver’s 10 Commandments.

caregivers 10 commandments

caregivers 10 commandments

  • Answering the same questions over and over

Answering the same questions

  • Caring for a Dad with dementia, blindness and hearing loss

Caring for a dad with dementia blindness and hearing loss

  • Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer

  • What to do if you think that a loved one has dementia

What to do if you think that a loved one has dementia

J.6     Young Onset Dementia

  • Book by Hilda Hayo and others: “Young Onset Dementia: A Guide to Recognition,
    • Diagnosis, and Supporting Individuals with Dementia and their Families”.
  • Table of Contents: Chapter 5: The Impact … on Family Relationships.
  • https://www.jkp.com/uk/young-onset-dementia-2.html

J.7     Sally Magnusson

  • Book: “where memories go”.

K. Final Questions and Answers

L. Conclusion

  • “God still remembers me” by Paul Hornback.


The END!


14. Ageing well: Living life more abundantly – 2

Jesus says: “You shall have life and live it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

One of the teachers of the law came and [asked Jesus], “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28ff.)

Getting better with age

As I said in my previous post, on Saturday night 21st April I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at Hornsby Uniting Church’s dinner. I chose to speak on the topic: “Ageing well: Living life more abundantly”. This is a direct quote from Jesus.

But how can we age well? How can we live life more abundantly? Is there anything we can do to prevent dementia?

There are a number of modifiable risk factors for dementia that experts believe can reduce our risk of having dementia by 35%. What are they?

On 1st August 2017 Kirsty Marais, Communications Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, produced a wonderful article entitled “Behind the headlines: can one in three dementia cases be prevented?” You can read her article by clicking on the following link:

2017.08.01 Lancet – Can dementia be prevented

She basically put into plain English the Lancet Commission (Lancet Medical School) December 16, 2017 journal article “Dementia prevention, intervention, and care”.

The Lancet Vol 390 No 10113 Dementia prevention, intervention and care

In summary, 65% of the risk for dementia comes from those things that we are unable to change e.g. our age, gender, genetics. However, there are things that we can change: modifiable risk factors. The Lancet Commission report identifies nine of them and groups them according to life stages: Birth, Early Life, Midlife, Late Life. They also assign percentages to each of the nine modifiable risk factors – totalling 35%.

The Lancet Commission picture looks like this:


However, that’s a bit technical. I therefore reworked it:

The Lancet model redrawn - JPEG

You can print this out by clicking on the following link: The Lancet model redrawn

The top three modifiable risk factors are:

  1. Midlife Hearing loss (9%). Because the person’s brain is not stimulated, they may isolate themselves, they may do little exercise, and their diet may suffer. Researchers suggest two theories: that the extra mental effort necessary to cope with hearing loss cause the brain to be less resilient, and/or something is happening biologically that affects both hearing loss and dementia. We do know that managing hearing loss does improve a person’s Quality of Life!
  2. Early Life Low education (8%). Education builds connections between neurons (nerve cells) in the brain – from birth to death! It’s never too late! The more connections you build up in early life the better! The more you have, the more you can lose in later life i.e. before dementia symptoms occur.
  3. Late Life Smoking (5%): The effects of smoking usually arise in later life, though smoking from any age should naturally be avoided.

Kirsty Marais helpfully reminds us that if we avoid all of the nine risk factors we might still develop dementia – but you can at least try and reduce your risk NOW!

So, one way we can “Age well” and “Live life more abundantly” is to take seriously the modifiable Risk Factors for dementia. Why not start TODAY?!

With blessings,

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13. Ageing well: Living life more abundantly

Jesus says: “You shall have life and live it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

One of the teachers of the law came and [asked Jesus], “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28ff.)

Blog 12 - Better with age

On Saturday night 21st April I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at Hornsby Uniting Church’s dinner. I chose to speak on the topic: “Ageing well: Living life more abundantly”. This is a direct quote from Jesus.

But how can we age well? How can we live life more abundantly? Is there anything we can do to prevent dementia?


Jesus’ answers the first two questions, and the third logically follows. When Jesus is asked to sum up the whole law, He says: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbour as you love yourself”.

How can we age well? How can we live life more abundantly? By living out these two Great Commandments!  Because they sum up our whole life:

Love the Lord your God with all:

Your heart                      Physical

Your Soul                       Spiritual and Emotional

Your mind                      Intellectual

Your Strength                The strength of all 3


Love your neighbour     Social and Service

as you love yourself      Honour yourself (Self-care).

John 10 v10

How can we age well? How can we live life more abundantly? By living out these two Great Commandments! We need to look after our Physical, Spiritual, Emotional and Intellectual health. We need to keep Social and engage in meaningful Service. We need to Honour Ourselves.  In future posts I’ll look at those seven items. Stay tuned!

Regardless of whether we’re young, or young at heart, ageing well NOW has a great effect on the last part of your life.

As an Aged Care Chaplain my passion is Dementia. I am privileged to teach people in different Churches about dementia through Discussing Dementia. I am currently doing the Bachelor of Dementia Care degree through the University of Tasmania. I also try and keep up-to-date with the latest dementia news.

You may not know that dementia is the 2nd leading cause of death in Australia, and the leading cause for women! Dementia is incurable and fatal, but it’s not inevitable and it can be delayed.

There are a number of Risk Factors for dementia that experts believe can reduce our risk of having dementia by 35%. What are they? You’ll have to wait for my next blog post to find out!

Honour Yourself.png







Honour God

In the meantime, keep the Commandments! Age well. Live life more abundantly. Honour God, honour your neighbour, and don’t forget to honour yourself.

With blessings,

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