Dementia in the church – how can we show support?
As part of Dementia Awareness week (14th – 20th May) we are looking at ways the church can show understanding and provide positive support.
On Easter Sunday, at a Memory Friendly Service, Ian, a retired classics teacher, read the gospel, the story of the first Easter. Ian has had Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, for over ten years and the effects are now severe. The service was also attended by his family, children and grandchildren who were visiting. Ian’s reading was outstanding. What came through were reminders of the man he had been, and the evidence of a contribution he could still make. It was an emotional and precious moment – a resurrection?
What is our response? We know that Dementia is now the biggest underlying cause of death. Concern about developing the disease is widespread, exacerbated by a lack of understanding of the nature of the condition, and fear of the stigma. The effect and issues it raises impact on the lives not just of the person with the condition but spreading outward to partners, family and friends. They all ‘live with dementia’.
How can we in the churches show understanding and provide positive support?
The Diocese is engaged with the Anglican Dementia Friendly Churches national initiative. Members of the Dementia Action Group, which was set up as an ecumenical project under Churches Together in Cornwall, have in the last 18 months been going out to church groups throughout the county, over 20 different venues so far, to assist in encouraging informed discussion and sharing of ideas.
The four session programme is described at on the Truro Diocese website here.
The group are now fitting in dates from September, so please, if your church would like one or more sessions, do get in touch with Christine Todd on email@example.com
Dementia Awareness week runs from 14th – 20th May. Information and resources can be found here.