The Peace with Dementia Rosary Recognizes June as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month by Reaching Out to Catholics Impacted by Dementia
Catholics now have a “go-to” resource when experiencing memory impairment in their family.
New Orleans, LA (PRUnderground) June 2nd, 2020
“I remember the moment when my mother sat me down during Thanksgiving college break to tell me that my grandfather’s dementia had gotten so bad that he could not remember her name,” Matthew Estrade recalls from November of 1997. His grandfather was in a nursing facility in New Orleans, but she still struggled to cope with being a caregiver. No one could have guessed how that moment would impact Estrade and thousands of caregivers – or as he calls them – “care partners.” After losing his St. Bernard Parish home in the destruction of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, he continued working and enrolled in a gerontology master’s program at the University of Louisiana (ULM) in Monroe, LA.
Estrade, having graduated since, is the author of The Peace with Dementia Rosary: Education, Intentions, Community, a spiritual and practical care guide for Catholics seeking a primer on dementia education, built around intentions and the prayers of the Holy Rosary, and emphasizing the strength of community. Brian LeBlanc, an advocate, speaker, and person living with dementia penned the foreword. The book was granted the Imprimatur by Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans on June 6, 2019.
“Dementia is a broad term used to describe a group of chronic symptoms that may include memory impairment disrupting everyday life, diminished judgment, inability to plan, challenges with words and communicating, disorientation of time and place, and other symptoms. Dementia can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, vascular dementia, frontotemporal degeneration, or other irreversible diseases,” says Estrade.
Since publication, the book has turned into a community that Estrade fosters through an online prayer wall, daily Facebook live videos, weekly blog articles, and a monthly Facebook live Rosary and Dementia Q&A. He also facilitates a monthly care partner support group at his parish, Mary, Queen of Peace (MQP) Catholic Church in Mandeville, LA. The MQP group has become a model for groups that Estrade is seeking to create in other dioceses all over the country. Estrade says, “If there are parishes that want their own dementia support group, I’ll help them get started.”
The feedback from both care partners and professionals have been very encouraging. Care partner Joe B. wrote, “I love how you related the intentions of the mysteries to dementia. I feel blessed having you guide me through this journey with my wife of 52 years. You have discovered your ministry.” Ralph L. Piedmont, Ph.D., Managing Director, Center for Professional Studies states, “I found The Peace with Dementia Rosary to be a wonderful pastoral piece! Your commentary was very insightful, compassionate, and supportive. There are many tough motivations going on in such situations and works such as yours can be a real asset to them.” The book has also resonated with many non-Catholics who appreciate the practical dementia tips.
The vision of The Peace with Dementia Rosary book, its social media, and support groups is to offer a level of education and comfort that I wish my mom had as a care partner, says Estrade.
For more information, visit https://DementiaRosary.com
About The Peace with Dementia Rosary
The Peace with Dementia Rosary is a ministry dedicated to helping families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias find peace and hope through education, intentions, and community. It is based in New Orleans, Louisiana and was founded by Matthew Estrade.