New book serves as first-of-its-kind interfaith guide to facilitating Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver support groups

Leader’s Guide for Season of Caring gives framework to support groups

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WASHINGTON – The new Leader’s Guide for Season of Caring (available from Amazon) is a first-of-its-kind guide to facilitating Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver support groups. Authored by Dr. Richard L. Morgan and published by UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Clergy Network, the Leader’s Guide provides structure and guidance for a 10-week support group based on the book Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers.

The Leader’s Guide is a compendium to Seasons of Caring, which was written and published in 2014 by the Clergy Network – a diverse, multi-faith national network of clergy, laity and other faith leaders working to focus our nation’s attention on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Winner of the 2015 Caregiver Friendly Award, Seasons of Caring includes more than 140 original meditations from seventy religious leaders and care specialists – many caregivers themselves – representing seventeen faith traditions.

“As an Alzheimer’s support group facilitator and having listened to other facilitators, I am convinced there is a real need to use Seasons of Caring in these groups,” says Dr. Morgan. “Although Seasons of Caring is widely read for meditation by caregivers, it needs to be used for study and reflection in support groups. The Leader’s Guide offers strategies and exercises for ten sessions using Seasons of Caring, enabling facilitators to gain access to the wisdom and resources this book offers.”

Each 10-week session in the Leaders Guide has an Alzheimer’s or caregiving theme, discussion prompts based on meditations in Seasons of Caring, a reflective exercise, preparation for the next session, and a closing meditation.

“The Leader’s Guide for Seasons of Caring is an important new resource for those working to support dementia caregivers, based on an inclusive interfaith approach to organizing support groups,” says Janice Wade-Whitehead, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Tennessee. “Touching on universal themes, such as personal stories, guilt, self-care and loss, Dr. Morgan has produced a highly professional tool with simple, compassionate and powerful guidance for structuring and leading a support group in a variety of community and faith settings. UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Clergy Network continues its innovative approach to addressing the critical needs of Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.”

“There are 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in the United States facing a difficult and often debilitating journey with their loved ones. Congregations and faith communities are on the front lines providing critical care for these families,” said George Vradenburg, Chairman and Founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The caregiver communities formed through support groups based on the Leader’s Guide will become a trusted locus for continued connection between Alzheimer’s caregivers in support of their own well-being. Use of the Leader’s Guide will also lead to greater understanding and education about Alzheimer’s within the wider community as we fight to end this terrible disease.”

The Leader’s Guide will be offered to congregations and other faith communities, Alzheimer’s- serving organizations, and senior living communities nationwide.

About the Author
Dr. Richard L. Morgan is a retired pastor, hospice chaplain, and founding member of the Clergy Network. He holds degrees from Davidson College, Union Presbyterian Seminary, and Wake Forest University. He is the author of 19 books, including No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia and the Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life. Dr. Morgan resides at Redstone Highlands, a continuing care community near Pittsburgh, PA, where he serves as facilitator for Alzheimer’s support groups. The Leader’s Guide is based on Dr. Morgan’s experiences using Seasons of Caring in his groups, and expertise gained from a lifetime in pastoral care and counseling.

About the Artwork
The artwork on the cover of the Leader’s Guide was created by Lester E. Potts, Jr., while he was a client at Caring Days Adult Dementia Daycare Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

About ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s
The ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s Network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is a diverse, multi-faith national network of clergy, laity and other faith leaders working to focus our nation’s attention on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The mission of the Clergy Network is to promote the dignity of persons with dementia and offer support to their caregivers as we work together to achieve a cure. Members represent a wide spectrum of faith traditions and include experts in Alzheimer’s pastoral care, elder care, hospice care, dementia friendly programs and Alzheimer’s education. Many are caregivers themselves.

To receive a copy of the Leader’s Guide for Seasons of Caring, or to schedule an interview, please contact Ranit Schmelzer at 202-538-1065 or rschmelzer@usagainstalzheimers.org. More information about the Leaders Guide is available at www.seasonsofcaringGuide.org.

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UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) is an innovative non-profit organization demanding – and delivering – a solution to Alzheimer’s. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer’s cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments. ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s is a Network of UsA2.

Contact

Ranit Schmelzer
rschmelzer@usagainstalzheimers.org
202-538-1065

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