Walking Each Other Home: Spiritual Companionship for Dementia Caregivers

Walking Each Other Home: Spiritual Companionship for Dementia Caregivers

by Jean Denton
Walking Each Other Home: Spiritual Companionship for Dementia Caregivers

Walking Each Other Home: Spiritual Companionship for Dementia Caregivers

by Jean Denton


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Dementia changes everything—and not just for the person who receives the diagnosis.

Each of the 5.6 million Americans with dementia has one or more caregivers struggling to make meaning while watching their loved one’s personality vanish. The caregiver is sure to be changed—not only by the myriad tasks and responsibilities, but by the soul-searching questions: Dare I hope? Who’s to blame? What do I do with my anger? Where’s God in this? These questions of doubt, guilt, intimacy, depression, and acceptance are ultimately questions of spirit.

This book is distinctive: it directly addresses the spiritual needs of the caregiver. It invites the reader to explore his or her own spiritual journey rather than offering pre-determined answers. Appropriate, both for people with faith and people without religion, it encourages dementia caregivers to probe their spiritual questions along with a sympathetic author, one who walked her husband through early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640654150
Publisher: Church Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/16/2021
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.38(d)

About the Author

Jean Denton has woven together two careers: nursing and public health and spiritual direction and priesthood in the Episcopal Church. She is the author of Good is the Flesh: Body, Soul, and Christian Faith. She lives near Los Angeles, California.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction ix

Part 1 Starting the Long Walk

Chapter 1 "We Have Dementia" 3

Chapter 2 A Look at Caregiver Needs 7

Chapter 3 What It Means to Care 11

Part 2 Companions

Chapter 4 The One for Whom You Care 19

Chapter 5 Other Dementia Caregivers 24

Chapter 6 Your God 29

Part 3 Provisions for the Journey

Chapter 7 A Perspective on Prayer 39

Chapter 8 Spiritual Practices 43

Chapter 9 Conflicting Encounters 50

Part 4 Encounters along the Way

Chapter 10 Acceptance 59

Chapter 11 Anger 64

Chapter 12 Anxiety 69

Chapter 13 Blame 73

Chapter 14 Depression 77

Chapter 15 Doubt 82

Chapter 16 Emptiness 86

Chapter 17 Forgiveness 90

Chapter 18 Grief 95

Chapter 19 Guilt 101

Chapter 20 Helplessness 106

Chapter 21 Hope 111

Chapter 22 Intimacy 116

Chapter 23 Loneliness 121

Chapter 24 Resentment 127

Chapter 25 Thankfulness 133

Part 5 "Are We There Yet?"

Chapter 26 Home 139

Afterword 145

Notes 147

Acknowledgments 157

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“With great honesty and sensitivity, Denton questions how it is possible to find God and any meaning in such a draining task, concluding that in the end all that matters is love.”
—Rev. Dr. Albert Jewell, Dementia Network Secretary of Christians on Aging

“As a dementia caregiver myself, I testify that I have indeed met myself in Denton’s book; reading her simple, graceful words and reflecting upon her well-chosen questions has led me more deeply into myself and helped me to see more clearly not only where my wife and I are but where our companionship can lead us both.”
—Dr. Steve Smith, author of Eastern Light: Awakening to Presence in Zen, Quakerism, and Christianity

“In addition to dementia caregivers, I’d recommend this book to hospital chaplains and healthcare workers as they assist dementia caregivers to find meaning through their difficult journeys.”
—The Rev. Dr. M. Lorraine Coufal, MA, MPM, MDiv, spiritual director and retired chaplain

“Jean Denton invites caregivers to walk, explore, and articulate their own feelings. If you are a dementia caregiver, you will find yourself understood and helped here.”
—Paul S. Bay, DMin BCC

“Denton’s book is certainly needed!”
—Dr. Pauline Boss, author of Loving Someone Who Has Dementia

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