by Ted Jungkuntz

Have you ever mistakenly used the word “edelweiss” when you intended to say “Alzheimer’s”? – It happened to my wife when she was still in an early stage of Alzheimer’s and I thank God that we all could genuinely have a good laugh over it. But not all people suffering from the disease would find the experience funny. Instead it could trigger deep pain.

Would you be sensitive to the difference? Would you have the empathy to know whether to laugh or whether to find a way of supporting your loved one with words and actions which would indicate you understand how painful a struggle it is to know what you want to say but to be unable to find the word or words to say it?

On Saturday, April 26, from 9-12:00 at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, a team of us who have had experience with folks dealing with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia and have gained some level of expertise relative to it, will be leading a workshop intended to help us all in a growth process for developing “best practices” for these multiplying situations. This event is being hosted by St. Luke ‘s Stephen Ministry.

As a foundation for our discussion we will explore the biblical concept of “the image of God” and see how this “given” has practical implications for all human interactions and in a special way for those struggling with the often very challenging manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease.

Come join us on this date as we seek to support and empower caregivers and family members as they journey alongside of their loved one with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Read Learning the Dementia Dance by Becky for more.

A team of six (three from St. Luke: Pat Carlson, Ted Jungkuntz and Becky Jungkuntz) will be going to Bethlehem, Israel to do a three day workshop on caring for people with dementia through MOST Ministries.

The ministry that we will be partnering with is called the Diyar Consortium, which is a group of Lutheran-based, ecumenically-oriented institutions serving the whole Palestinian community “from the womb to the tomb” with an emphasis on children, youth, women & elders.

It is their concern that dementia related diseases are not well understood in Palestinian culture, and it is the goal of this Christian ministry to help equip both health care professionals and volunteers to minister to people with dementia with love and dignity.