Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare

A Training Guide for Professionals and Families

By Nancy L. Kriseman, M.S.W.

ISBN 978-1-932529-06-7
208 pages
8.5 x 11 papercover
© 2005

(7 customer reviews)


2006 National Mature Media Award Winner logoThe Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare provides a different way to think about culture change in long-term care. While most culture change efforts target the physical environment and internal systems in long-term care communities, the Caring Spirit™ approach recognizes that valuing and nurturing relationships between staff and residents is critical to person-centered care—and that families need to be partners in the process too.

Presented as a training program with 10 professional and 4 family training modules, the activities and instruction presented in this easy-to-follow guide will empower all caregivers by providing the support, guidance, and attention they need to succeed. Participants learn the importance of

  • relationships built on compassion, respect, and trust
  • pride in and commitment to the process of care giving and receiving
  • positive self-awareness and self-care
  • more meaningful ways to communicate with one another
  • care practices that are spiritually renewing rather than depleting and demoralizing

Reap the rewards of reduced costs and improved quality of care from this easily affordable investment in your human resources. Witness what research has already proven: that staff retention and positive care outcomes for residents are directly linked to how staff are valued.

If culture change is truly your passion and goal, then The Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare is a “must have” training program for your community!

Human Resources and Aging Award
(American Society on Aging and Brookdale Center, 2005)

Foreword by William H. Thomas, M.D.
How to Use this Book and Training Program

Introduction: Why a Spiritual Approach to Training?
Handout — What Is The Caring Spirit™ Approach?


  1. Understanding Spirituality and Your Spiritual Self
    Module 1
    Handout 1.1 — Medical Versus Spiritual Model of Care
    Handout 1.2 — Faith, Life, Love
  2. Creating a Spiritual Work Environment
    Module 2
    Handout 2.1 — Questions to Ponder: Defining Home
  3. Why Working in Eldercare Is a Blessing
    Module 3
  4. How Inspiration Affects Staff Members and Those for Whom They Care
    >Module 4
  5. Spiritual Approaches to Caring for Elders
    Module 5
    Handout 5.1 — Prescription Bottle Ingredients
    Handout 5.2 — Prescription Bottle Side Effects
  6. How Staff Members Can Find Support within the Work They Do
    Module 6
    Handout 6.1 — Questions to Ponder: Being Angel-Like
    Handout 6.2 — Angel Cards
  7. Spiritual Ways to Cope with Stress
    Module 7
    Handout 7.1 — Being in Someone Else’s Shoes
    Handout 7.2 — Soulful Versus Stressful Experiences
    Handout 7.3 — Missed Opportunities
    Handout 7.4 — Missed Opportunities — Answer Key
    Handout 7.5 — Loving-Kindness Meditation

  8. Communicating from the Heart
    Module 8
    Handout 8.1 — Spiritual Listening
    Handout 8.2 — Communication Roadblocks
    Handout 8.3 — Spiritual Listening Exercise
    Handout 8.4 — Spiritual Listening Answers
  9. Staying Connected Through Rituals
    Module 9
    Handout 9.1 — Rituals
    Handout 9.2 — Questions to Ponder: Valuing Rituals
  10. Taking Care of Our Own Spirits
    Module 10
    Handout 10.1 — Taking Care of Our Own Spirits


  1. Why a Spiritual Approach to Caring Matters
    Module 11
    Handout 11.1 — Spiritual Ways of Caring
  2. Helping Families Connect from the Heart
    Module 12
    Handout 12.1 — Helping Families Connect from Their Hearts
    Handout 12.2 — Listening from the Heart Toward Spiritual Communication
    Handout 12.3 — Listening from the Heart Scenarios
  3. Spiritual Approaches to Coping with Stress
    Module 13
    Handout 13.1 — Setting Limits to Reduce Stress
    Handout 13.2 — Soulful Versus Stressful Experiences
    Handout 13.3 — Angel Cards
  4. Helping Your Family Member Finish Well
    Module 14
    Handout 14.1 — Anticipatory Grieving and Stages of Grieving
    Handout 14.2 — Barriers to Letting Go
    Handout 14.3 — Loving-Kindness Meditation


The Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare:A Training Guide for Professionals and Families (Krisemen excerpt) by HealthProPress

Nancy L. Kriseman, M.S.W., is a licensed geriatric social worker with more than 21 years of experience serving as a program developer, trainer, teacher, and counselor for elders and the staff who care for them. She is currently working as a private geriatric care consultant, assisting with program development and training needs for assisted living and nursing facilities and for home care agencies. She is also an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and a board member of the Georgia Gerontology Association. She is a recognized national speaker and expert on aging concerns.

7 reviews for Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare

  1. admin

    “This approach appeals to the spirit of those giving care while offering a fresh vision of what is possible in caring relationships. This book is a gift offering self care and self discovery for caregivers seeking inspiration and creative expression. The Caring Spirit approach should enhance the quality of lives, comfort and healing relationships in any setting.”
    —Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, Director, Family Support Program, Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center

  2. admin

    “The emphasis on ‘conscious caring’ is a welcome addition to the literature on long-term care. This book helps administrators, staff, families, and residents understand how living and working in a long-term care facility can be a blessing to all.”
    —Susan H. McFadden, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

  3. admin

    “This programatic book is a helpful contribution to the expanding literature for implementing spiritual values and concepts in long-term care facilities.”
    —Melvin A. Kimble, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology, Director of The Center for Aging, Religion and Spirituality Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN

  4. admin

    “an excellent, insightful training guide for staying connected to our hearts and souls as we perform the sacred work of eldercare … [the book] should be required reading for all managers in long-term care facilities”
    -Interfaith Voice, National Interfaith Coalition on Aging

  5. admin

    “[Kriseman’s] step-by-step training exercises to help caregivers become more insightful, soulful, sacred, connected, and spiritual are warm and inviting and will definitely feed the soul, as well as improve long-term care environments.”
    – Journal of Christian Nursing

  6. admin

    “[The Caring Spirit’s] understanding and presentation of spirituality is particularly sensitive… [the] lesson plans are simple and easy to follow [and] the exercises are interactive and enable participants to go deeper in their understandings and experience of caregiving … The Caring Spirit will go a long way to providing a foundation for excellence in caregiving.”
    —Donald Koepke, Director, Center for Spirituality and Ethics in Aging

  7. admin

    Comments from staff trained in The Caring Spirit™

    “The Caring Spirit™ has helped me to see my purpose for why I do this work.”

    “This training has helped me to see how important it is to be spiritual at work and with the residents.”

    “It has taught me to be more care oriented instead of task oriented, to show more compassion.”

    “[It] made me realize that you can make a difference in somebody’s life everyday and not even know that you have done so. Even a smile can change people.”

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