UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Prepares for This Year’s 'Memory Sunday'

Memory Sunday is designated nationally as the second Sunday in June. Memory Sunday was established to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on the African American community, since their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is two to three times higher than white Americans.

In 2006, the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) published "The Book of Alzheimer’s for African American Churches." Since then, Sanders-Brown has been partnering with the Balm in Gilead Inc., and the National Brain Health Center for African Americans to promote Memory Sunday annually since its inception.

With the guidance of the African American Dementia Outreach Partnership Advisory Council in Lexington, Sanders-Brown facilitated an outreach event for those interested in hosting a special Memory Sunday during morning worship. This event was dedicated to those affected by memory disorders and their caregivers.

The Advisory Council felt strongly that while hosting Memory Sunday was important, something ongoing was needed in addition to offering publications from Sanders-Brown. In 2014, Sanders-Brown and the Balm in Gilead teams developed a Memory Sunday guide for pastors and church leaders plus an additional Memory Sunday toolkit. 

Memory Sunday materials offer ideas on how congregations can provide sensitive, culturally appropriate support to families as they struggle with the devastation of memory loss. They also share how to build a support network through the church. The evolving “Healthy Churches of Kentucky Coalition” that works to support healthy aging by involving churches across Kentucky was formed on the basis of Memory Sunday.

Since the initial Memory Sunday, more than 50 churches have facilitated annual Memory Sunday events in the month of June. This is the first year for the "Virtual Road to Memory Sunday." It is SBCoA’s desire to keep the momentum going by sharing recorded Memory Sunday videos with congregations and community groups. There are two videos available online — "The Road to Memory Sunday: Part One" and "The Road to Memory Sunday: Part Two."

During Memory Sunday events, SBCoA provides:

  • Resources and information that would help to recognize early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Information on how to access the services provided by SBCoA.
  • The importance of research participation.

This year’s Memory Sunday is June 13. The staff at Sanders-Brown respectfully urges pastors and faith leaders to reach out for resource materials to offer to those in the pews who may be suffering in silence. For more information on Memory Sunday, visit the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging website.

For more information about Memory Sunday, contact  Markeda Yarbrough markeda.yarbrough@uky.edu.