CAPTION: Photo left to right: Fr Harry Heijveld , Plymouth RC Diocese, Sacred Heart, Exeter; Revd Graham Thompson, Chair of Plymouth and Exeter Methodist District; The Revd Ruth Whitehead, Moderator, United Reformed Church, South West URC Synod; Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell; Alison Ball, South West Methodist District, Learning and Development Coordinator, Revd Sharon Crossman , Diocese of Bath and Wells. Centre, Dr Jennifer Bute

Church puts people with dementia in focus

Posted: 16th May, 2017

Bishop Robert is supporting the campaign to unite against dementia this week, as part of Dementia Awareness Week.

The campaign is being run by the Alzheimer’s Society, which is urging people to ask their election candidates about their plans for supporting people with dementia.

Bishop Robert introduced a major conference in Exeter last week for people involved with dementia.

He said: “It was a wonderful event in which we explored the impact dementia has on people’s spiritual lives, and the contribution of people with dementia to the life of our churches. The church wants to affirm that contribution and ensure that the services we offer support and nurture those with dementia, and those who care for them.”

Bishop Robert is supporting the Alzheimer’s Society campaign for Dementia Awareness Week

He has written on dementia on his blog .

Nearly 200 people came from across the south west and further afield, and from a wide variety of Christian traditions to learn more about the spiritual experience of people living with dementia.

Former GP Dr Jennifer Bute was diagnosed with dementia in 2009. She spoke to the conference: “We’re precious to God no matter what the state of our bodies, brains, minds or circumstances, even when we feel useless. I think dementia has enriched my life. So many with dementia assume their active lives have come to an end, but I run memory groups for other residents and take part in internet blogs. Enabling places to be dementia friendly is so important but more than that, it’s an opportunity to learn from people with dementia.”

“I am grateful for the way this day helped bring together our thoughts, feelings and technology about the vital topic of dementia, personhood and caring,” said The Revd Ruth Whitehead,  Moderator, United Reformed Church, South West URC Synod.

“The Church has been good, if a little slow, at seeking to meet the needs of each generation. Learning to be dementia-friendly is what we should be doing now and events and people that help us with this are very welcome,” said Revd Graham Thompson, Chair of Plymouth and Exeter Methodist District.