Engaging Memories

Remembering our past connects us to the present.

Our past is our present. We remember our friends, families, good times and bad times. It is what makes our life unique. But what if you can no longer access your memories? Losing the gateway to life’s precious, irreplaceable moments can be devastating. The memory support program at Westminster Canterbury Richmond addresses the ever-increasing need for a solution in a unique, compassionate and spiritual way.

Memory Support Chaplain the Rev. Kathy F. Berry leads the program, and she emphasizes that it is always important to be reminded whose you are. “We are children of God.” This is the basis of a multifaceted and unique approach from the Westminster Canterbury ministry for those who face dementia. While residents and families wait for a cure, Rev. Berry’s spiritual techniques provide solace and hope.

“Practicing our faith is so important. There are traditions with the power to draw us back and help us remember. People who can no longer converse will hear old hymns and sing, hear the old prayers and speak. Their spirits calm. When words fail for people, we can help them recall what matters most.” Berry’s work with residents is intensely personal. During worship circles, she welcomes and reassures each person with an eye-to-eye greeting and touch.

“When Words Fail” is the theme and message Rev. Berry teaches clergy and others. She finds that it resonates locally and nationally in seminars and lectures. Westminster Canterbury Foundation funds both Rev. Berry’s unique chaplaincy and a book/curriculum she is currently developing to share with the larger community.

In the coming months, we will explore more of memory support, including music, art and horticulture therapy.

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