Dementia Friendly Church?
A press release:
The role of using creative approaches in developing dementia friendly churches was the subject of an event yesterday, by national disability and community engagement charity – Livability.
The event drew together church leaders, community workers and carers to discuss the vital role that churches can play in supporting people living with dementia.
‘We all need to find ways of creating more inclusive communities for those living with dementia,’ says Charlotte Overton-Hart – a Livability Associate involved in organising the day.
‘With dementia ever present in the news, and with the devastating impact it can have on so many people’s lives and families, it’s easy to adopt a very disabling view of the condition. But we want to challenge that mind-set and say that there is much that can be done to bring hope, community and full participation for people living with dementia. Churches – along with other community partners – are well placed to bring a hopeful and important response in this area,’ says Charlotte.
The training day – held at Livability’s national office in North Greenwich – brought together a range of church and community leaders, and people with lived experience – to discuss creative and practical approaches to making churches more dementia friendly. From multi-sensory approaches such as community gardening, acting and art, bring and share lunches or friendship walks, event attendees shared information about what has worked in their context.
Dr Jennifer Bute – a retired GP who is living with dementia – was one of the keynote speakers on the day. Jennifer sees dementia as a ‘glorious opportunity’ to offer support and a place of welcome to people that may need a place to participate when other avenues may seem more closed.
Ideas shared at the event included:
· Creating a network of churches to collaborate together and share creative ideas
· Using themed events to engage in multi- sensory approaches that can include everyone
· Promoting wellbeing and connection through storytelling and testimony
· Using ‘Godly Play’ methods to engage someone’s spirituality
· Relationship – focused approaches through active befriending
Earlier this year, Livability launched The Dementia Friendly Churches guide in collaboration with Alzheimers Society and are currently developing plans to provide more avenues for churches to mobilise and support people in their communities that are facing dementia.
Corin Pilling, Assistant Director for Community Engagement at Livability said: ‘Livability is a charity that is focused on tackling barriers that can cause people to feel socially isolated and working for inclusion in all we do. We are passionate about changing the narrative around dementia, to one that is hope-filled, focused on recognising the unique importance of each person. Everyone has something to offer. Churches can play a powerful role in walking alongside someone in their journey with dementia and enabling people to make a valuable and life affirming contribution.’
For further thinking and resources by Livability on Dementia Friendly Church
Get Livability’s training pack – The Dementia Friendly Churches guide
Read about creativity, allotments and dementia – what could you get started in your community?
Notes for Editors
For more information contact Janet Miles, Head of Communications and Campaigns at Livability. Email: JMiles@livability.org.uk Tel: 020 7452 2084 | Mob. 07885 687 908
Livability is a national Christian disability and community engagement charity. We deliver disability services, community projects, and education and training resources throughout the UK. We are an enabling network, tackling barriers and working for inclusion, with and for the people we support.
Livability is a proven and trusted provider of commissioned care and community projects throughout the UK. Created by a merger of The Shaftesbury Society and John Grooms, Livability has a 160-year track record in community and inclusion work. Our Christian ethos and rich heritage of social reform drives us; we are ambitious to innovate and determined to end social exclusion. Services include:
· 38 residential care homes.
· 17 registered community services providing care and support to disabled people living in their own homes.
· A school and a further education college for disabled students.
· A wellbeing centre set in 350 acres of beautiful Dorset countryside.
· A Lifestyle Choices programme promoting daytime opportunities and independent living.
· A brain injury rehabilitation centre.
· An enterprise agency supporting people into employment.
· Church training in community engagement and disability awareness.
· A wide range of social inclusion work through churches and community project.
· Internationally, we provide spinal injury rehabilitation service development expertise in developing countries.