All are welcome? Dementia care
Do churches welcome those with dementia?
I wonder what feeling genuinely welcome means to you. This month, I have been speaking with a churchgoer whose wife lives with Alzheimer’s and experiences the dementia group of symptoms. He attends a church belonging to another denomination, and mid-week events at his local URC. She is protected under the disability characteristic of the Equality Act, and her husband is protected under the marital status characteristic. Both of the couple’s names and some details have been changed to protect their anonymity.
Here are three top tips from this
- Continue to communicate with people regularly when their circumstances and communication styles change.
- If there are regular activities in your church, consider how you might bring those activities to people who are not able to attend in the church building.
- Remember the humanity of carers, and continue to engage with them as the people that they are, as well as asking after the relatives they care for. If you do ask after relatives, and if appropriate/possible, consider following the question up with asking whether a phone-call or a visit from yourself or an elder or pastoral carer would be appreciated.
You might also consider becoming a ‘dementia friendly church’…
For more information and advice visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk
This is an extract from an article published in the July/August 2023 edition of Reform