CAPTION: Dr Jennifer Bute says “Enabling churches to be dementia friendly is so important but more than that, it’s an opportunity to learn from people with dementia.”
Christmas can be the most isolating time of year for people with dementia. Many say they dreading the festivities and over half of those surveyed said they see their friends and family less often over the Christmas period than they did before their dementia diagnosis. Have you considered a dementia-friendly carol service for your local community? Experience tells us that families, children, local schools and many from the community can find the simple and welcoming approach of such a service is very helpful to all. Download a sample idea from Plymouth Churches here.
Exploring God in Dementia, Theology, spirituality and personhood conference
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. Speakers have allowed us to share their presentations below.
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.”
Bishop Robert 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.”
Dementia Friends and Champions
Clergy, readers and lay people in our churches are learning more about dementia by joining in a local Dementia Friends session or training as Dementia Champions. Dementia Champions undertake a day training to deliver a specific message based on work from the Alzheimers Society. They do not need to be experts in dementia.
If you are interested please email Sally Farrant at the address below.
Pastoral Care Guidelines Dementia from the Diocese of Exeter.
Useful Links and Downloads
Devon Support Services
Church Dementia Resources
Devon Dementia Friendly Communities
Devon Carers Pathways
Dementia Action Alliance
South West NHS Dementia Partnerships
Devon Dementia Update
Dementia Recommended Reading
Living well with dementia handbook – Devon
Christian Medical Fellowship: Dementia
Rotarians Easing Problems of Dementia
Further information from
Sally Farrant, Social Responsibility Officer, Church and Society, email Sally