The Balm in Gilead, Inc. Urging African American Churches To
Emphasize Brain Health as Memory Sunday Approaches
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but fifth for older African-Americans. The Balm In Gilead, Inc., a Richmond, Va.-based global public health organization, is bringing attention to this issue through its partnership with the faith community.
Memory Sunday, observed the second Sunday in June, is an opportunity for churches to highlight the tremendous burden that Alzheimer’s and other Dementias are having on the African American community; utilize the influence of the African American pulpit to distribute the facts about Alzheimer’s; and identify ways to support persons living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
The Balm In Gilead’s goal for this national mobilization campaign is to increase the capacity of African American congregations to partner in risk reduction, care management, caregiving and increased awareness regarding cognitive health. Additionally, The Balm In Gilead strives to share this initiative beyond the church walls by providing training and information to healthcare and public health professionals regarding the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving on African Americans.
Leading up to Memory Sunday, The Balm In Gilead provided churches and health ministries access to culturally tailored, faith-based tools and resources via the organization’s Brain Health Center for African Americans web site: http://brainhealthcenterforafricanamericans.org/memory-sunday .
The free resources include The Book of Alzheimer’s and the Memory Sunday Toolkit. There are many ways for faith leaders, congregations, and local communities to get involved. Whether churches participate in Memory Sunday by sharing the information in their bulletins, or setting up a table to share resources after services, or creating a space for caregivers. The goal is to nationally engage churches through this initiative; in ways that will support on-going information, sharing about Alzheimer’s, caregiving, and overall brain health the entire month of June and beyond.
Celebrating 30 years of service, The Balm In Gilead develops educational and training resources specifically designed to meet the unique needs of African Americans and African American congregations.