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By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP
Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care

Sandra Stimson has experience as a
corporate consultant, Corporate
Trainer and National Speaker. Her
experience is in long term care, as
Activity Director, Director of
Alzheimer's Units and Assistant
Administrator of a 550 bed long term
care county home.  She is
Co-founder of Pet Express Pet
Therapy Club, is a Life Replay
Specialist.  Sandra implements
dementia units nationwide.  Sandra
has written several books, Volunteer
Management Essentials for Long
Term Care and Pet Express Pet
Therapy Program. Sandra has been a
facilitator for Alzheimer's support
groups and is the Awards Chair for the
NJ Association of Activity
Professionals.  Sandra is the
Executive Director of
Council of Certified Dementia

Alternative Solutions in Long Term
Care offers resources for health care
professionals in many areas of
dementia care, care plans,
Snoezelen products, dementia
activity calendars, adult day care
calendars, sensory calendars,
reminisce videos for dementia,
activity books, and dates to
remember, party supplies,
resources and links.
Spirituality and Aging

As we age, for many, religion and spirituality become much more important. For many, the religious service
becomes one of the most important weekly events.

“Spiritual well being is not something achieved once and for all at a younger age. Instead we constantly
must work to maintain spiritual health.”

“Just when you think you know what you believe, you find there is so much more. Edward Powers.”

There are other religious / spiritual activities that should be added to the calendars and services offered by
the facility.

  1. JCAHO requires a spiritual assessment but even if your not joint commission, every facility should
    be conducting spiritual assessments.
  2. If the religion is not documented on the chart, the staff should go back and interview staff. If you
    conducted an audit, statistics show that about 25% of your charts have no documented religion.
    There should be a strong attempt by administration to find out all religions for every resident.
  3. The calendar should offer Group Study and Educational Opportunities.
  4. Offer taped sermons for those who are unable to make the weekly services. You could tape the
    sermon each week.
  5. Prayer, Meditation and Personal Reflection. Do you provide a place for this? It could be a garden,
    chapel or a quiet room.
  6. Church services to fit all the needs. Do you offer services for the different religions in your building?
    You could contact the church and ask for a volunteer, even if they only come monthly, would address
    the needs of those who are not attending church.
  7. Add Bible reading, Bible Study and daily affirmations.
  8. Are their Bibles on Tapes, Bibles in the rooms and other reading religious materials offered. There
    are many organizations that offer free religious materials.
  9. Bereavement Services
  10. Support Groups with your volunteer clergy to talk about spirituality. The support groups could talk
    about the positives of growing old, such as freedom to pursue hobbies, prayer, study. The support
    group could provide support for spiritual development.

The facility should post the names of the clergy, their church affiliation and their phone number. The clergy
should be provided a list of all new admissions so the clergy can keep an up to date list of residents. It is
important that the religious lists be kept current and updated.

It is important to nurture someone spiritual side which can be through gardening, activities, reflection and

“God’s gift of long life brings with it gains and losses, both of which can lead to the continued development
of our spirituality.”
Copyright 2004-2006
The Activity Director's Office
All rights reserved
Music: "Peg of My Heart" furnished by Heart and Soul Music "Providing Quality Music for Nursing Homes"