Emerald Crest by Augustana Care’s sensory worship service featured in “The Atlantic”

January 5, 2014

Emerald Crest by Augustana Care designed a sensory worship service specifically for people with conditions that result in memory loss (like Alzheimer’s). While it’s not uncommon for people with cognitive/memory loss to engage in singing a familiar hymn or praying a familiar prayer, a new sensory-based worship service is allowing people with memory loss to be active participants, defying the “dementia” stereotype.

The service was created at Emerald Crest by Augustana Care by occupational therapists and chaplains. “We are looking for ways to make religious expression something that enables and invigorates, helping those with conditions like Alzheimer’s be more active participants not only in these services, but more generally in the world around them,” says Pastor Alex Treitler. The service and philosophy behind it are featured in The Atlantic.

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For over two and a half years my husband was a resident. A former nurse, a good friend of mine, went with me to look over memory care facilities and, after a few moments at Emerald Crest we both agreed this was the place for Chuck. I was happy to visit there and observe their daily activities and how they engaged the residents and how caring all the staff was. I have even visited after my husband's death, because I wanted to see staff people again. We couldn't have made a better choice.

— Alice, wife of resident

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