Range of faiths explored in new speaker series at Augustana Care
While the typical Minnesotan may have once been described as a Norwegian bachelor farmer, there is no such thing as “typical” any more. Hindus, Native Americans, Latinos, Israelis, Somalis, and others make up a new cultural and religious landscape in the state. A new spiritual education series at Augustana Care addresses the diversity of faiths in our community and how they impact caregivers, elders, and others who need care.
The series began with the Hindu faith and Native American spirituality; the next session will explore Islam on Thursday, October 20 at Augustana Health Care Center, 1007 East 14th Street in Minneapolis at 12:30 p.m. A session on Buddhism will be held Friday October 28 and Judaism will be explored in the months ahead. To complement the talks, meals will be served from local restaurants to give participants a literal taste of each ethnic cuisine.
“Understanding the nuances of diverse cultures allows us to more fully care for the entire person in a way that makes them feel more safe and comfortable.”
Augustana Care’s education series has been funded for a second year by the Department of Human Services. The program seeks to increase understanding of the faith traditions and cultures of residents and caregivers in the local community. “We wanted to focus particularly on religions that do not fall into mainstream Christian-based traditions,” says Chaplain Amy Luukkonen of Augustana Care.
Speakers will discuss how different cultures view the relationships between spirituality, healing and the quality of life. A central goal of the series is to bring new perspectives to caregivers, medical staff, and community members. Educating health care workers about cultural differences will give them better tools for breaking down cultural barriers. “Understanding the nuances of diverse cultures allows us to more fully care for the entire person in a way that makes them feel more safe and comfortable,” says Kelly Klund, director of community relations at Augustana Health Care Center of Minneapolis.
Residents and community members will also be able to gain a greater understanding of some of the diverse cultures in the Elliot Park neighborhood and the Twin Cities as a whole. “Our goal is to build bridges and give participants a new appreciation for the way different cultures combine health care with spiritual issues,” says Klund. Those who attend will be able to enjoy delicious ethnic cuisine while supporting local businesses.
For more information about the spiritual care series, contact Klund at 612/238-5344.
Founded over a century ago, the nonprofit Augustana Care Corporation fosters fullness of life for older adults by providing housing, health care, community-based services and elder advocacy. Augustana Care works to better address the changing needs of our aging community by providing a continuum of care from home modification and day centers to independent and assisted living to skilled nursing and memory care, providing the range of services families need to care for loved ones, and serving more than 2,400 people daily.
Jenna Zark is a free-lance writer living in Minneapolis.