Partnerships Provide Care For Older Adults in Shenandoah County
The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is astoundingly beautiful with rolling hills, green pastures and country back roads. The rural nature of this area that brings such beauty also has the ability to be a source of isolation, particularly for older adults.
Neighbors are spread further apart and the nearest doctor’s office probably isn’t just around the corner.
Thanks to the collaboration of several Lutheran churches in the area and a $ 20,000 grant from National Lutheran Communities and Services, the older adults of Shenandoah are being served by a Faith Community Nurse.
The catalyst for this ministry was Rev. Mary Louise Brown, a retired pastor who used to serve at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church near Woodstock, VA. What is unique about Rev. Brown is that she also has a nursing background.
“When I would visit my congregants in their homes, knowing that I was also a nurse would also prompt them to ask me questions that they probably would not ask a pastor,” said Rev. Brown. “So I definitely saw a need.”
After speaking to several pastors in the area, a committee was formed in 2013 which soon partnered with Shenandoah Valley Lutheran Ministries (SVLM). SVLM is a network of eight Lutheran churches in the Valley that work together to implement ministries such as a backpack feeding program that may be too much for any one congregation to take on.