Helping families care for their senior loved ones
Founder/Executive Director of Veranda Ministries
Mary Anne Oglesby-Sutherly
No need is too small and no voice is too quiet to be heard. We devote the time and energy necessary to help families and caregivers.
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Mary Anne Oglesby-Sutherly shares her story and her daily journey of caring and advocating for senior adults. Mary Anne’s presentation, which often blends speaking and singing, is based on her more than 20 years of experience in health and senior care industries. Her experience in activity programs at assisted living facilities, at a day program and coordinating a care provider service have helped establish the foundation for her presentation.
Her enlightening approach can help today’s churches, senior adults and families address issues relating to senior adult living. Her compassion, love and concern for the well-being of the senior adult population led to the creation of Veranda Ministries and the launch of The Veranda, a congregational respite program affiliated with Impact Fellowship Church in Gallatin, Tenn.
When a change in a Tennessee state law in 2017 resulted in barriers for churches who offer respite programs as a ministry to continue operating, Mary Anne enlisted the help of her local legislators. They spearheaded an almost year-long effort to exempt churches from the state licensure requirement linked to the adult day care statute. Their efforts paid off when the legislation—House Bill 1498 and Senate Bill 1487— unanimously passed during the 110th Tennessee General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam on April 2, 2018.
Mary Anne holds triple certification as a PAC trainer, consultant and coach in Teepa Snow's "Positive Approach to Care®" (PAC). A certified dementia practitioner, she also is certified in Alzheimer’s care by both the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. She also currently serves as vice president of legislative affairs for Tennessee Association of Adult Day Services (TAADS).
She has appeared on the Nashville Public Television's "NPT Reports: Aging Matters," a series designed to open a community-based conversation about what Middle Tennessee's older citizens need to optimize their quality of life and helping prepare communities for the coming explosion in the aging population.
In March 2018, Mary Anne was recognized during "Huck's Heroes," a special segment of Gov. Mike Huckabee's show "Huckabee" that airs nationally on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN.) Her selection as a "Huck's Hero" resulted from her vision of establishing Veranda Ministries and its work in Sumner County.
In July 2017, Mary Anne released her book "Remember for Me: Life Lessons from Those Living with Dementia." Through heartwarming stories, she introduces readers to some members of The Veranda family and shares many lessons from her long career of serving the senior adult population.
“Our nation is on the verge of a crisis in addressing the various needs of our senior adult population. Seniors and their families are having a hard time knowing where to turn for guidance, help and understanding, and I believe the churches should be on the forefront helping in this task,” she said. “God told Moses in Deuteronomy 5:16 that in order for us to have a long, happy life, we must honor our fathers and mothers. It is a commandment by God, but a promise for us as well.
“I strongly believe it’s our Christian duty to treat our senior adults with respect and dignity and to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves,” she said. “Churches should be prepared to teach their members what it means to help senior adults find and fulfill their roles in the church, and that is one of the reasons behind my ministry. My path is their journey. It’s an honor for me to help churches and families learn how to celebrate the blessings that our seniors bring to our lives.”
An Arkansas native, Mary Anne and her husband Dwight live in the Nashville, Tenn., area. In addition to her work with senior adults, she has spent a majority of her life singing Gospel music. She is a private vocal coach and staff member of the Steve Hurst School of Music. Her son, Matt, lives in Springdale, Ark.