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Dementia Friendly Church

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Dementia and the Church

Currently there are approximately 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and by 2051 this is expected to rise to two million people.

 

  • 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes.

  • 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia.

  • 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.

  • There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.

  • More than 25,000 people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are affected

 

(source Alzheimer's Society) 

 

For those living with dementia and their carers, this disease is extremely demanding, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Often many church leaders only experience of dementia is when someone in their congregation begins to develop early symptoms, receives a diagnosis or when they are visiting a care home in their parish or area.  Whilst someone with dementia offers a unique set of challenges to a church leader, they still need to know the support and love of God in their lives. Someone with dementia will often still remember how you made them feel even if they can't remember the detail of the meeting or even the meeting itself.  

This challenge is only going to get bigger and we believe now is the time for churches to tackle this growing problem by learning about the condition and how to better support and love those who have the condition and their carers and families.

What can the PramaFOUNDATION do to help?

We know that there are now many different styles of church, both building and service type, some of which people think are completely inaccessible to someone with dementia. However, we believe that any style of service or type of building can still be a welcoming loving place with some small tweaks. After all the church is not primarily about the building or the style but the people. If a church can make a small shift this can open it up to those with dementia and their carers and families who often feel very alone and unsupported.

 

With training and support we can help churches and their leaders understand dementia more fully and start to help equip them in this area.  This can be a rich and rewarding area of ministry when you see someone responding to God that many may feel is not possible.

Whether you meet in a grade 1 or 2 listed church building, a school or even a theatre we believe properly equipped churches can offer a welcoming, inclusive and safe place where the person with dementia can find friendship, support and love and, their carer and family can often find much needed respite, rest and peace.

The PramaFoundation is working hard to help churches and their leaders to understand these challenges, feel more equipped to reach out and help people with dementia and their carers to feel loved, welcomed and safe.

 

The PramaFoundation as a Christian charity is uniquely placed to assist in this area. With over 35 years of experience with working with the elderly, offering care,support and groups to many with dementia.     

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Andy Gilbert talks to Kevin Potter on HopeFM, PramaRADIO about the work of helping to establish Dementia Friendly Churches throughout the UK

visit our website for more information www.dementiafriendlychurch.org.uk

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