Ministry Content


Leader's Toolkit
Guide to establish Care Ministries in your congregation 

Care Ministries Successful ministry models including transportation, spiritual, nutrition, and more

Caregiving Resources A library of information to address your caregiving concerns

Research  Learn how aging and caregiving issues affect faith organizations

Emotional And Spiritual Health

Caregiving is more than just monitoring medicines and driving to doctor’s appointments. Your loved one’s emotional health is as important as his or her physical condition.


Most people take great pride in their independence. When they lose that independence because of illness or disability, self-esteem often suffers. The person you care for may feel worthless, or feel she’s a burden to you.

Your attitude can have a positive effect on the other person’s self-esteem.

  • Encourage independence.
  • Give praise for effort and for things she does herself.
  • Allow her to make as many decisions as possible.
  • Let her choose what to wear, when to have lunch, where to shop for groceries.
  • Reminisce. Display childhood and family photos.
  • Encourage her to talk about the past. Invite her to tell family stories, talk about former accomplishments and old friends.
  • Provide ways for her to feel needed.
  • If suitable, encourage her to care for a pet or a plant. Let her address envelopes or cut coupons to help with household chores.
  • Treat her with dignity and respect.
  • Don’t forget that you’re talking to an adult, even if the person needs a great deal of care from you. No adult wants to be treated like a child.

Spiritual Well Being

If religion has been an important part of your lives, it is important to provide opportunities for spiritual experiences even if you can’t attend religious services.

  • Read passages from religious books.
  • Arrange for a member of the clergy, lay minister, or parish nurse to visit.
  • Play sacred music on the radio.
  • Watch church services on television.
  • Continue meaningful rituals like prayers before meals.
  • Enjoy a sunrise or sunset out the window together.
  • Pray together familiar prayers, such as the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Sing old hymns together.
  • Use services and liturgies that the person remembers.

Intellectual Well Being For Both Of You

These are common sayings and most people agree they’re true. Even if the body is failing, most people can retain a healthy, active mind throughout life.

  • Learn a new hobby or skill. Stamp collecting, painting, or computers are a few possibilities.
  • Work crossword puzzles.
  • Play cards.
  • Write letters.
  • Listen to books on tape. Borrow them from the library, rent them at video stores, or trade with friends.

For a person with dementia some of these activities may be frustrating. If they are too difficult or stressful, change activities or modify them to make them easier. Find activities you enjoy, and invite the person you care for to participate in some way.

Enjoying life’s pleasures doesn’t have to end when illness or disability strikes. As you continue your work as a caregiver, stop and smell the roses along the way. And don’t forget to share their wonderful aroma with the person who needs your care.

Originally written and published by the Aging and Adult Services Administration Department of Social and Health Services, State of Washington. Reprinted with permission.

© Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

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Emotional Issues

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Dealing with Difficult Behavior
Emotional/Spiritual Health
Symptoms of Depression
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Caregivers Handbook

This handy guide provides resources, checklists and worksheets
 - all in one place.