Diana Walters, DPhil, earned her doctorate at Oxford Graduate School. Her studies emphasized religious issues among the elderly, culminating in her pioneering study of the use of multi-sensory materials to enhance receptivity of Alzheimer's patients to a ministry experience. This adaptation of Montessori methods to the special needs of persons with dementia was tested by rigorous empirical research and has been published in a refereed journal. Click here to learn more about this. She has presented at the Crystal Cathedral and at a national conference in Australia. She continues to work directly with the senior population, serving as Consultant to the Vineyard, the assisted living community at Summit View, a residential complex for independent and assisted living in Chattanooga, TN, and directs ElderCaring (click here) at our church. This both fulfills her strong love of interaction with people and provides opportunity for continuing observation of how the lives of people in such circumstances can be enriched. She is actively involved in equipping volunteers and professionals better to serve the needs of persons whose abilities have been blunted by physiological conditions.
Rich Walters, PhD, describes himself as number one cheerleader and support person for Diana's ministry in the field of applied gerontology. His career as a licensed psychologist in a variety of Christian clinical contexts was followed by teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels. He has taught, full- or part-time, at Michigan State University, the University of Georgia, Belhaven University, Aquinas Institute of Religious Studies, Bryan College, and recently retired as Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Oxford Graduate School, Dayton, TN. He continues his love for writing on subjects related to living the authentic Christian life in a broken world. These books are available elsewhere on this website (click the "Bookstore" button). Rich does much of the behind the scenes work that is required to enables development of materials for outreach to the throngs of people in late life who are so sadly underserved by the church at large.
< WE ASSEMBLE THE MULTI-SENSORY BOOKS
After design and writing, and field-testing of prototype copies in natural settings, we get quantities of the pages printed. Then comes a lengthy process of finishing each book: punching holes for the binder wire, attaching the "add ins." Some of these require extensive preparation. For example, faux lambskin is purchased in a bolt that is 30 feet long and 54 inches wide! This is cut into narrow strips. Rich is shown cutting the long strips into short lengths with an electric cutting wheel. We have made various gadgets to speed up the assembly process. Maybe it is hard work that is the mother of invention! After this, we attach the "add-in" to the page, collate pages for a book, and bind.
IT CAN'T BE DONE WITHOUT LOTS OF HELP >
Indispensible volunteer A. J. LeClair takes a quick (and uncommon) break from one of his multitude of tasks, this time attaching strips of fleece beneath a picture of Noah who is joyfully praising God with a sacrifice. We, too, find much to praise God about. AJ is helping Alzheimer's Ministry 15 hours a week; a huge blessing that is making it possible for us to seek more ways to work in the under-served mission field of the late-age elderly population. We ask you to pray for all who assist this group and invite contributions to our nonprofit organization (see button on home page).