Faith and Health Partnerships Monthly

A resource toolkit for faith and community leaders

November 1, 2022

Welcome to the November edition of Faith and Health Partnerships Monthly. In this issue, we highlight Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, National Family Caregivers Month, Diabetes Month, and the practice of Gratitude.

We hope you find these resources and tips helpful. If you have questions or topic ideas for future issues, please reach out to us - we'd love to hear from you.

Thank you for your commitment to caring for those in your congregation and community!

Caring for Mind

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. It is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and is not a normal part of aging.  

According to statistics, Alzheimer’s is projected to rise in the U.S. from 6 million today to nearly 13 million by 2050, barring the development of a medical breakthrough to prevent, slow, or cure the disease.

You can support your members living with Alzheimer’s disease by:

  • Adapting worship services to be welcoming and supportive of people living with dementia. Learn how.
  • Learning how to better communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s and dementia. Learn more.
  • Encouraging members with Alzheimer’s and dementia to participate in service projects and congregational events, like study groups, concerts, and plays.
  • Asking members with Alzheimer’s and dementia to participate in worship by handing out bulletins or doing a reading, for example. “Make maintaining the self-esteem of persons with dementia more important than productivity and make integrating them into the life of the faith community a priority,” writes Jade C. Angelica in her article, Alzheimer's Caring: How Faith Communities Can Serve People with Dementia and Their Families.

You can support caregivers of those living with Alzheimer's by:

  • Creating a caregiver support group.
  • Helping with errands, chores, and other tasks.
  • Providing emotional and social support.
  • Making sure they are managing their own health care needs.
  • Helping them create and manage a care plan for the person they care for. Learn more about free care consultations available through the Alzheimer’s Association in Illinois and Wisconsin.
  • Encouraging them to seek mental health services if necessary.
  • Arranging respite care, so they can step away to refresh and renew. While caregivers have a break, congregation volunteers can lead art, physical exercise, music, games, and other activities for family members with dementia to enjoy. Learn about respite care training programs in Wisconsin and Illinois.


See "Creating Dementia Friendly Faith Communities" for additional ideas on how to engage with those living with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

Download and share the Alzheimer's and Dementia toolkit with your members.

Download and share Supporting Those Impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.

Download and share National Family Caregivers Month flyer with your members.

"Personhood is not defined solely by our corporal bodies or our cognitive abilities, but rather by our relationships with others. … If we should forget God, God will not forget us. And if we forget God, our community of faith can remember us to God and bring God’s presence into our lives through means that do not require us to grasp that presence cognitively."

Excerpt from Aging, Dementia, and the Faith Community: Continuing the Journey of Friendship, Author John T. McFadden. 

Additional reading from Advocate Aurora Health health enews:

Caring for Body

November is National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to the disease. This year’s theme is “Diabetes Management: It Takes a Team.” 

You can remind members that, while it takes a team to manage diabetes, they are the most important participant in their diabetes care.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. It affects about 37 million Americans, including adults and youth. Diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart, and is linked to some types of cancer.

The CDC offers a Faith Leaders Toolkit with tip sheets, webinars, videos, social media messages, and other resources to make it easy for you to:

  • spread the word about type 2 diabetes prevention and diabetes management,

  • organize education and support activities, such as workshops, cooking demonstrations, and physical activity classes, that teach members skills that can help them make healthier choices,

  • create an environment that supports healthy choices by providing healthy food and beverage options at congregational meetings, celebrations, and other gatherings.

Download and share this toolkit with other faith leaders in your community.

Faith leaders play an important role in diabetes prevention and management, according to the CDC: “Your members trust you and understand that you support their well-being. You know how to reach and inspire them. You can motivate them to take steps toward healthful living.”

Caring for Spirit

Practice of Gratitude

Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season can be a joyous time for members of your congregation and community, filled with family gatherings, religious celebrations, and feelings of optimism as 2023 approaches.

But some may struggle this time of year. Overloaded schedules, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to be with family and friends can leave your members feeling stressed and lonely.

Practicing gratitude can make a positive difference. Gratitude can decrease depression, help you feel more optimistic, boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and provide numerous other health benefits.

To inspire gratitude in your faith community, try these activities:

Place a gratitude board in your house of worship. Have paper and pens nearby and encourage members to post something for which they are grateful.

Create a gratitude jar or box. Whenever something good happens or you feel thankful, write it down on paper and place it in into the jar or box. See related story: Gratitude Jar Project Makes an Impact One Blessing at a Time.

Distribute gratitude rocks to members of your congregation. Ask them to carry the rock in their pocket, leave it on their desk, or wear it on a chain around their neck or wrist. When they see the rock or touch it, they can pause to think about at least one thing for which they are grateful. 

Organize a gratitude challenge, using the Thnx4 online gratitude journal and other gratitude apps.

Include gratitude prompts in your bulletins, newsletter, or social media sites. The prompts can include: I’m grateful for three things I hear...I’m grateful for these three friends...I’m grateful for these three things in my home...etc.

Encourage your members to incorporate gratitude into their daily lives by keeping a gratitude journal, doing something kind for someone in their life, giving thanks through prayer, and meditating on things for which they are grateful.

Download and share this Gratitude Toolkit with members of your faith community.

Download The Benefits of Gratitude with members of your faith community.

For additional ideas, see 13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises & Activities, reprinted with permission from


The Advocate Aurora Local Services Guide allows you to find free and low-cost options for food, safe housing, child care, transportation and more.

Download and share this Mental Health Resources Toolkit

Download and share this 988 toolkit.

Who We Are

Advocate Aurora Health

Faith and Health Partnerships

We work side-by-side with faith communities to promote health equity by mobilizing the transforming power of social connectedness and spiritual wisdom.

Our core belief: Drawing on the wisdom of our religious traditions and the best social and public health science, we believe that positive, mutual relationships and the intentional practice of faith are at the heart of what creates equitable health and well-being for individuals, congregations and communities.

Learn more about our work in English and Spanish.

We blend the strengths of Advocate Aurora Health with the strengths of your congregation to improve the health of those in your community.

Faith and Health Partnerships Monthly aims to address health topics that are important to you, as well as share educational resources and ideas on ways you can make a difference in your community.

We invite you to reach out to us with your questions, ideas, and topic ideas for future issues.

Thank you!
IL residents:  join our mailing list
WI residents: join our mailing list
See the latest faith and health events.
Click here to subscribe to health enews, a news service of Advocate Aurora Health, which offers breaking health stories, weight loss tips, exercise advice, the latest treatment options and much more.
Follow Advocate Aurora Health on social media for the most up-to-date resources and news.
Facebook  Twitter  Youtube