Jesus Loves Me by Ben Boland and Dana Gruben. Review by Mark Wormell
When people have known Jesus for years, how can we help them keep and enjoy their faith when they get dementia? How can we share our faith with people living with dementia? How do we do it, and what resources work?
A great place to start is Jesus Loves Me, a short book of resources written by Ben Boland and Dana Gruben in HammondCare’s “Faith for Life” series.
The brevity and simplicity of this book conceal broad research into the best way to communicate with people living with dementia and, in particular, a deep understanding of the effectiveness of liturgy, memorable church music and art. It arises out of years of experience of working in aged care facilities in Australia, and the trialling of various materials.
The key message that Jesus loves us recurs in the book in ways that will embed this truth. The common questions of “How do I respond to Jesus in dementia?” and “Why does Jesus love me?” are addressed. Useful texts such as John 3:16 and Psalm 23 are attractively presented, and the words of familiar prayers and songs are made available for easy use (e.g. The Lord’s Prayer and “Amazing Grace”).
This book is a well-conceived and valuable resource for people working in aged care facilities, as well as for pastors and carers who want to help people with dementia. The materials give permission to pastors and carers to stick with the resources that are most effective.
I join with others in highly commending this book.
The Rev Mark Wormell is rector of St John’s, Glebe and author of Coming to Christ in Dementia.
Cover image sourced from Dural Chamber