Making Churches Dementia Friendly

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To coincide with the National Week of Prayer and Awareness of Dementia, 12 – 19 March, Catholic charities are calling on Churches to do more to become “dementia friendly communities”.

There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and the number of people affected is estimated to rise to over 1 million by 2021 and 1.7 million by 2050.

Kathleen Pitt, Director of Nugent Care, which runs a number of residential homes as well as care in the community projects for people with dementia says:

“As the number of people living with dementia continues to grow, providing care for them is becoming increasingly important. Church communities and parishes, working together with charities and the health and care system, can play an important role in creating care environments for people living with dementia that enable people to feel safe, supported and which help to promote independence and reduce distress and anxiety.”

Nugent Care is currently gathering signatures for a petition to raise awareness of dementia and the importance of dignity in care for people living with dementia.

To sign up to their petition visit:

Highlighting the importance of creating dementia friendly church communities, Ben Bano, Director of ‘Welcome Me as I Am’ which specialises in training parishes, deaneries and chaplaincies on dementia issues said:

“Just as in many other places it can be difficult to raise the issue of dementia in our parish communities. It is important that parishes and faith communities welcome and include people with dementia as well as their carers. Through our ‘Welcome me as I am’ project, we seek to promote understanding about the causes and treatment of different forms of dementia, how we can adapt church buildings to be more dementia friendly and help parishes to develop the skills to enable them to work with people with dementia as well as provide liturgy and worship for people with advancing dementia.”

Rebecca Hedges, Convenor of the CSAN Older People’s Services Forum added:

“Many people with dementia become increasingly anxious and feel isolated. Churches have an important role to play in being places of welcome.”

“CSAN’s Older People’s Services forum is currently developing a Dementia Toolkit for parishes to create a person-centred approach to people with dementia, looking at how we meet the physical, sensory and emotional needs of people with dementia and how the Church as a whole can contribute to the wider network of outreach services available.”