Nancy Parker Brummett is the author of numerous books who recently began focusing her writing and speaking ministries on older adults and those who care for them. After volunteering to lead a Bible study in assisted living, she developed her newest book, The Hope of Glory: A Devotional Guide for Older Adults. Her next book, titled Take My Hand Again, will be released by Kregel in the Spring of 2015 and is a guide for those caring for aging parents. Nancy and her husband, Jim, live in Colorado Springs, CO. They have four adult children, 12 grandchildren and two cats in their blended family.
What motivated you to begin volunteering with older adults—and then writing for them?
I’ve always had a love for older people. Probably because my grandmother lived with us until she passed away when I was 16. I just tend to gravitate toward older women and joined a professional writer’s group (NLAPW) primarily because there were so many creative older women in it! So I’ve had older women as close friends all of my adult life. I was also involved in caring for my mother and mother-in-law when they were in assisted living and immersed myself in that world for awhile. As my passion for older people grew, that motivated my writing for this audience and those who care for them.
How did The Hope of Glory come to be?
When I first started volunteering to lead a Bible study in an assisted living facility in 1999, I was using other Bible study materials, but I quickly discovered something different was needed for older adults who may not see or hear well anymore. They don’t want “fill-in-the-blank” Bible studies. And they definitely don’t want homework! I began writing simple lessons for each week, based on a theme such as prayer, forgiveness, or heaven, and I used them with the group I met with. Each lesson has interactive questions, too, so I was able to “field test” those with my group. If I got a lot of blank stares when I asked a question, I went home and wrote a different one.
Finally, after I had 52 lessons plus five for special holidays, I began trying to find a publisher. In 2012 I contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and the book came out in March 2014.
How do you hope this book is used?
I want it to be a tool that motivates other volunteers, or activities directors in the various facilities, to lead a Bible study group because the lessons are already provided for them. Only one copy is needed for the leader to lead the group, although some group members may want to follow along with their own copies. There are so many assisted living and skilled nursing facilities in this country, with more being built every day. Within those walls are many lonely, sometimes depressed older people who need to learn for the first time, or to be reminded of, Jesus’ love for them and the hope they can have for eternal glory through faith in Him.
In addition to groups, individuals 65 and over can use The Hope of Glory for their personal devotion times, and adult children can take the book along when they visit their aging parents in order to use the interactive questions and lessons to stimulate more meaningful one-to-one discussions.
Describe the seminar you are offering for The Hope of Glory.
This is a two-hour seminar during which I give an overview of the challenges facing our society in dealing with a growing aging population, go over the basics of how to use The Hope of Glory as a tool with elders, and encourage potential volunteers that they CAN make a significant difference in the lives of older adults.
I dispel some concerns they may have about volunteering with the elderly, including how to help someone in a wheelchair or on a walker, and then open it up for questions. Of course, there are always treats, too! I’m available to lead seminars in churches or care centers that are interested in ministry to the elderly. The cost for the seminar is $25 and includes a copy of The Hope of Glory.
Why do you think it’s important for older adults to live a life of faith?
Older adults suffer so many losses. Loss of family homes, spouses, physical abilities. But faith in Jesus is one thing they will never lose—and that can never be taken away from them! I see so much difference between those who know Jesus and those who don’t. Those who do have a light in their eyes and a bounce in their step. They are able to sustain a positive attitude throughout all the changes life brings. They are able to forgive themselves and others. They are able to grieve well, knowing they will see their loved ones who believed again someday. It just makes a tremendous difference in their ability to live out their last days with purpose and hope if they know and serve the living Lord.
How do you see The Hope of Glory changing lives for the better?
The title of the book, The Hope of Glory, comes from Colossians 1:27: Christ in you, the hope of glory. It’s that hope that makes a difference. I’ve seen people in my class move from “I hope I’m going to heaven,” to “I’m sure I’m going to heaven” and that change gives them great peace. Others come to a saving knowledge of Christ for the first time. If they have been sitting on the fence their whole lives, or have turned away from God because of disappointments in life, I want to encourage them to give their lives to Jesus before it’s too late! These lessons present many opportunities for this to happen through the repeated sharing of the gospel message.
What will you be working on in the future?
My next book is a companion guide for Baby Boomers taking care of their aging parents titled Take My Hand Again. It is already in development with a publisher, so I’ll be working on getting that to press and then getting the word out about it. It’s scheduled for release in the Spring of 2015. So many people my age are caring for their parents, and when they first get the call that help is needed and the roles are shifting, it can be terrifying. Many wish they had a good friend or neighbor who navigated this life change before them. My prayer is that Take My Hand Again will meet that need.
The Hope of Glory is available through Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com in print or Ebook formats. To learn more about Nancy’s life and work, or to subscribe to her blogs, visit www.nancyparkerbrummett.com.