Starting Out With Memory Care Placement

September 5, 2017

How Spiritual Care Supports Families in Transition at Augustana Emerald Crest

“Your head tells you it’s the right thing to do, but your heart is breaking as you do it.” These are the words of the wife of a newly admitted resident to Emerald Crest. She joined our Caregivers Meal and Meeting recently. During our meeting, she shared that she had lost two of her 6 adult children, but leaving her husband in secured 24 hour Memory Care is still “one of the hardest things I’ve been through”. Tears of compassion flowed among the group as others remembered their own similar experience and shared it with her. Caregiving is a heartrending job, and often a group effort.

During my first conversation with her husband, he said that he is “deeply religious.” As a Chaplain, I meet with our new residents in the first few months of their arrival to learn what might best support them in terms of Spiritual Care. Sometimes it’s very unclear and we need to rely on family to provide insights about spiritual history. Other times, residents can be clear about their needs and preferences for spiritual care. Sure enough, as he sat at the first worship in our bright, cozy Emerald Crest living room, he sang the familiar hymns in a rich baritone. He recited Scriptures by heart, and received communion, his eyes bright with understanding. He was fully present at worship despite the disruption of memory loss and the move away to Memory Care that still brings his wife to tears. For that half hour of worship, he was home and fully present. And for that hour or so we were with his wife, she was at home with those who were walking along the same path. God was and is present to both and present in we who care for them.

More and more families are having to face the difficult decision that this woman has with her husband of 60+ years. And as hard as they are working on a cure for Alzheimer’s, the reality is that caregiving for memory loss won’t go away anytime soon and statistics bear witness to this fact. Please reach out as you need to for support as you make this decision. Talk to your doctor, your clergy person, a social worker or a therapist to help you find support and guide your decision. When you are ready, reach out to us as well. We will be here for you.

Our Caregiver’s Meal and Meeting meets in Burnsville on the second Tuesday of each month. There is a light meal and a topic every month. All caregivers welcome.

Rev. Lette Gamble

At Emerald Crest, we offer a deep knowledge of memory care in a specialized assisted living setting for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions. We encourage you to contact us directly with any questions or request a tour. For tours and general information, please contact Christine Drasher at 952-908-2215.

For questions about our spiritual care program and Caregiver’s Meal and Meeting, or if you would like spiritual care and support for you or your loved one, contact Rev. Lette Gamble at 612-554-6379 or

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Each and every one of the Emerald Crest Shakopee staff have all performed above and beyond to welcome, listen and learn, focus on my husband’s abilities versus disabilities… with an unending abundance of patience, love, compassion and outstanding care, which made Emerald Crest Shakopee a place to truly call home for our loved one, family and friends.

— Sally, wife of resident