CAPTION: Dementia-friendly carol services this month are in Plymouth and Paignton

Dementia services help people celebrate Christmas

Posted: 1st December, 2017

Following the success of last year’s dementia-friendly carol service in Plymouth, two events will take place in our diocese this month.

Development Worker Chris Forster from Transforming Plymouth Together (TPT) organised and led the service attended by 80 adults and 30 young people. Bishop Nick and Archdeacon Ian Chandler also took part and readings were done by those involved in caring for, and those living with, dementia in Plymouth.

Chris explains what made the dementia-friendly service different from other services in church. He said: “The order of service was produced clearly and simply in large print, and all hymns and activities also appeared on the screen as well. A simple Christmas theme was followed throughout the service. The pace was slightly slower giving people time to keep up with what was happening and there were only three verses of each hymn sung.”

He added: “We are delighted to be asked to put on another event and would be very glad to help other churches run similar events.”

And of the importance of these events, he said: “Typically thought of as a wonderful time of the year, Christmas is supposed to be a joyous occasion for all. But it can be a stressful and lonely time of year for people living with dementia, with many feeling isolated and unable to join in with the festivities. We hope these services help all to celebrate Christmas.”

Chairman of the Plymouth Dementia Alliance Ian Sherrif added: “I’m really pleased to see events like this taking place as it makes Christmas an inclusive celebration for people with dementia. I know it will be a great event as I’ve seen the energy and enthusiasm which is going into the event.”

Diocesan Social Responsibility Officer Sally Farrant said: “Christmas is such a special time of year for most of us but it can be a difficult time for people alone, or those living with dementia and their carers. These two carol services in Plymouth and Torbay churches will be warm and welcoming times for us all. What makes them dementia friendly is that we’ll sing familiar carols together and they’ll be short, calm and friendly services where we can all enjoy the familiar story together. It’s particularly nice to stay for the refreshments afterwards and get to know each other better.”

The first of these events takes place on Tuesday 12 December in St Pauls Stonehouse, Plymouth from 3-4pm followed by refreshments and the second is on Monday 18 December in Paignton Parish Church from 3-4pm. Disabled parking is available at both venues. For full details go to: http://exeter.anglican.org/events

You can also contact Chris by email or call him on 07710096210.

For further details on holding a dementia-friendly service visit: http://exeter.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Preparing-a-Dementia-Friendly-Carol-Service.pdf

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