Articles on Older Adult Ministries

We are Worthy, No Matter the Age

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

February 01, 2015

“I got out of the shower, dried myself off, looked in the mirror, decided I looked good for someone over 90 years old, smiled, got dressed, and started my day.”  How often I am reminded why I love working with older people. That reminder came again this morning when the above was the answer to, “Good morning, how are you?” There is the embracing of life that so many older adults exhibit. It is so contagious. It made me smile. In fact, it made me think of so many older adults, riddled with so ...

Helping the Aging Find God in Between Us

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

January 01, 2015

There is a wonderful children’s book called “God in Between,” by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. It is one of the few books I kept when downsizing and moving to a condo. As with most children’s books, adults would do well to read it, too. It is the story of a windowless, roadless, overgrown town, and its people who sense something missing in their lives. People are cut off from one another, cannot watch or see anything beyond their own four walls. They sense that if they can find God (whose existence is...

Holiday Emotions Not Always Joyful Ones

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

December 01, 2014

The holiday season is about over. For many that is a statement that is said with relief; for others it is said with a sense of wishing it could last a little longer. What should be a time for joy and celebration can actually be a time of sadness and relived loss. I’ve noticed in the last 50 plus years of pastoral ministry that the holiday seasons—which in my years of innocence were a pure delight—increasingly come and go with mixed feelings, not always with pure delight. I’ve performed ...

Loss of Routines Can Disrupt Sense of Belonging

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

November 01, 2014

“What do you miss the most about being in your home of so many years?” That’s a question I often ask our newer residents when checking in on their adjustment to living in one of our communities at United Methodist Homes. Invariably the answer goes something like this, “I miss getting up, going downstairs, fixing a cup of coffee, enjoying it for awhile, having breakfast, and then going upstairs to wash and dress for the day.” Or, “I miss the daily routines, walking downtown, seeing neighbors, ...

Finding New Life in Saying Goodbye

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

October 01, 2014

“It seems as if we’re always saying goodbye.” These words came from a resident at our United Methodist Home in Shelton, Conn. It speaks to an all too common experience of older adults. Inevitably, as we age, more and more of our loved ones and friends precede us in death. It speaks to a sense of loneliness often found among the aging. The comment got me thinking about the home’s upcoming annual memorial service. At this time, we will remember residents and staff members who have died during the...

Uncovering the Unspoken, the Unseen

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

September 01, 2014

She arrived “kicking and screaming.” Displaying anger toward her attentive, adult children, she was not easy to approach. Neither they, nor the staff, were sure what to do. It is not that we do not have a well-trained staff at Wicke Health Center; we have an excellent, caring staff. It’s that she had locked in a decision to never enter a long-term care facility. Nothing, in her mind, would allow her to reconsider. However, both physical and real memory issues, mixed with confusion, made it ...

Dementia Inspires New Ways to Communicate

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

August 01, 2014

“I have a difficult time talking to my mother. We used to have wonderful conversations. But the more her dementia advances, the less intelligent our conversations become. What do I say to her, especially when her sense of reality has changed so much?” Certainly a fair and a common question, created by situations that are often painful to watch, as we “lose” the loved one we knew. There is no easy answer to the question. But perhaps something my adult children refer to as “going to Grandma land”...

Dealing with “Waiting” That Comes with Aging

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

July 01, 2014

I was thinking of a hundred and one things I ‘had to do’ that day. I was told he would be there between 7 and 9 a.m. It was only 7:30 and I was already chomping at the bit. “When will he get here?” “I bet it will be closer to 9 a.m.” “It seems like I am always last on the list.” And on I went! At one point in my fussing and fuming I remembered something I’ve heard many times over the years from older people, including my mother and mother-in-law. As one of them waited for me to drive her to...

Leaving Space To Enjoy Daily Miracles

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

June 01, 2014

He was very excited as he asked me. Sitting outside of the Wicke Health Center, where he is a resident, from where he goes for dialysis three days a week, his free time is limited and is often marked by fatigue from the ordeal he endures every other day. So it was especially meaningful that he was so excited and full of vitality as he asked. “Have you seen the Luna Moth?” First of all, I wasn’t quite sure if I had ever seen a Luna Moth, nor would I have recognized one if I did. Second, I could...

Sharing Promises of Spring Can Bring Hope

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

May 01, 2014

Like most everyone else in New England, my thoughts are about Spring. Like many people, it is my favorite time of year. I begin looking forward to it in mid-February. Why? Is it that winter has been too long by then? Maybe, but I’m tired of winter before it even begins, so that most likely isn’t it. Is it because I can open my windows without wasting the heat? Perhaps, but opening them wide for the first time in months reminds me of how many windows I have to wash when I do, so that isn’t it ...

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