Rapport, trust, sensitivity, concern, and availability will partially determine the gamut of issues patients and families will discuss with you. Even if parishioners do not ask about specific matters, occasions may arise for you to sensitively bring certain topics into the conversation. Anticipate common concerns and be informed about these issues. Topics that patients or families may want to discuss include the following:

• Advocacy • Clinical drug trials • Concern regarding loved ones’ salvation • Holidays • Hospitalization of the patient • Humor • Long-distance caregiving • Ministry by two or more clergy • Pets • Research • Television • Transference and countertransference • When Alzheimer’s strikes clergy and their families • When patients can no longer fulfill church responsibilities • Working with law enforcement officials and transit operators


You can be the voice of patients who can no longer speak for themselves if you assume an active advocacy role at local, state, and federal levels in ways such as these:

• Raise public awareness of patients’ and families’ needs. • Become involved with policymaking. • Support legislation for additional research funding. • Seek funds for financial assistance for patients and families. • Provide additional resources. • Participate in the annual Memory Walk. • Serve as an Alzheimer’s Association board member.