Redeeming Dementia

Spirituality, Theology, and Science

Dorothy Linthicum and Janice Hicks

Nov/2018, 160 Pages, PAPER, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640650565

• Unique synthesis of ideas from theology, science, and spirituality on aging and dementia
• Provides information, resources, and examples

Dementia: a specter that haunts many, either as a fear for the future or as lived reality with a loved one. It has been called the "theological disease" because it affects so much of how we define our humanity: language, long-term memory, and ability to plan the future. The church has a role in bringing hope and shepherding the spiritual journeys of people with dementia and their families. Beginning with current theological models of personhood, concepts about the self and spirituality are explored through the latest research in medicine and neuroscience as well as from work on spirituality and aging. The final chapter focuses on narratives of successful programs in churches and retirement communities designed to minister to people with dementia alongside their families and caregivers.

Audience: Lay and clergy leaders; retirement community, hospice, and hospital staff; people with dementia, their families, caregivers, and friends

Dorothy Linthicum, an instructor in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary, has studied and taught courses and workshops about older adult spirituality and ministry at the seminary, conferences, and diocesan events. Her writing on older adults and aging has appeared in “The Seasons of Adult Formation” and a special issue of Lifelong Faith Journal, as well as on the Key Resources and Building Faith websites. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Janice Hicks, received grants from the Episcopal Evangelism Society to research the U.K.’s Dementia Friendly Church movement and develop a similar program of resources and ministry for U.S. churches. She gives workshops on dementia and has a website: Hicks has a doctoral degree from Columbia University and a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. She is a candidate for the diaconate in the Diocese of Washington and trained as a chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Chapter 1 The Healthy Brain
Chapter 2 The Brain Affected by Dementia
Chapter 3 Theology of the Human Person
Chapter 4 Theology of Dementia
Chapter 5 Aging and Spirituality
Chapter 6 Embracing People Who Have Dementia
Chapter 7 Serving with People Who Have Dementia

Conclusion Finding God in the Midst of Dementia

Further Reading


  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer's
  • Pastoral care

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