Magazine article Anglican Journal

Tips for Making Your Church Dementia-Friendly

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Tips for Making Your Church Dementia-Friendly

Article excerpt

Experts on aging say there's a wide range of things parishes can do to make themselves more welcoming to people suffering from dementia. Here are a few:

1 Ensure church buildings are warm and well lit, with comfortable seating, accessible bathrooms and easy-tounderstand notice boards and signs.

2 In services, avoid speaking too quickly or transitioning quickly from one element of the service to another. Use non-verbal cues, such as hand gestures, when it is time for the congregation to stand. Microphones can be useful in helping everyone hear what is said during a service.

3 Consider emphasizing sensory and other elements of a service that go beyond the merely cognitive (such as pondering the meaning of scriptural passages). Music, rote prayers and other rituals can be especially good for helping worshippers with dementia connect with the sacred because the memories of these things are stored in a different part of the brain than other memories, and they tend to last longer. Prayers the worshipper is likely to have learned early in life--such as the Lord's Prayer and passages from the Book of Common Prayer--can also be more effective than more recent prayers. …

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