Laura Rice-Oeschger (Esh-gur), LMSW
I am grateful for the opportunity to be the mother of two daughters (8 & 12) and the wife of my dearest friend, Brent. Music is a binding thread in my life and I sing, write, sit at the piano, with the mandolin or ukulele as much as I can. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and the guidance offered to me by many. I am interested in the ways we are all connected and feel humbled by the generosity and love I see at work and in others on a daily basis.
What makes me a spiritual person?
I was raised in the left leaning side of the Christian tradition. In middle school my parents joined a Congregational fellowship which then paved the way for my own discovery of the Unitarian Universalist tradition after college. It was a homecoming in many ways and I felt truly comfortable for the first time as a spiritual person. Soon after, I discovered mindfulness meditation and I continue vipassana practice/insight meditation daily and also attend the Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalist Fellowship regularly. I am curious and delighted with all things mystical as well as the peaceful aspects of all spiritual traditions. I continue to be a student of spirituality, learning from everyone and listening.
It is all in the listening for me and in the way I intend to live my life moment- to-moment and day by day. Imperfectly I proceed with an open heart and an intentional mindful practice. My communion with what feels sacred to me is not anchored in beliefs but rather in the experience I gather from my senses in any given moment. This life is full of mystery and our planet is a gift of wonder. My life is directed towards service with an understanding that we are all part of the same mystery, each valuable and each holding unique aspects of divine consciousness/unity consciousness. I see no separation between spiritual and secular life.
“Listening. Listening to the breath. The breath is the listening. The listening is the awareness.” ~Toni Packer
Professional BIO –
Laura Rice-Oeschger, LMSW, was first introduced to the world of memory care and caregiving by her grandparents. Watching her own mother, an only child, care for aging parents in an era of few resources inspired her to pursue a career in geriatric clinical social work. Laura has worked in dementia care since 1995 in a variety of capacities. She was the first Director of the University of Michigan Silver Club Memory Programs prior to moving to California. During her tenure with the Alzheimer’s Association of Los Angeles, Laura was the clinical manager of early stage services, which included research, clinical responsibilities, the development of an Early Stage Alzheimer’s Program Replication Manual for professionals. She also co-created the areas first early memory loss program, The Memory Clubs. Laura currently works at her alma mater where she coordinates, leads and co-leads early memory, cognitive loss and wellness programs at the UM Silver Clubs, in addition to mind-body wellness programming for family care partners through the UM Alzheimer’s Disease Center. She supervises and trains students and professionals and is a national and state presenter on early memory loss issues and mindful approaches to memory care. Laura has been a presenter at ASA/NCOA Conference, Brookdale Foundation National Training Conference, the Michigan Adult Day Services Association Retreats, the bi-annual Edna Gates & Lillian & James Portman Dementia Conferences and the Wayne State Issues in Aging Annual Conference.
Laura is interested in CAM models of care (Complimentary Alternative Medicine) and is an on-going student of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Qigong, mindfulness meditation (vipassana), Reiki and Healing Touch. In addition to clinical social work, she has received intensive training in MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stess Reduction) from the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society located at the University of Massachusetts and MBDC – Mindfulness Based Dementia Care (thepresencecareproject.org) from Marguerite Manteau, Rao, based in San Francisco, CA.