Dementia-friendly faith groups
Find out how faith can play a vital role in the lives and wellbeing of people living with and affected by dementia.
What role can faith play for people affected by dementia?
Faith can play an integral part to the life of someone living with dementia by:
- Providing practical support. Faith can enable people to continue to feel part of their community, faith groups can sign-post to useful information, provide activities for people to engage with and connect people.
- Providing spiritual and emotional support . Faith can offer a rhythm of life, reminiscence, feeling of belonging, provide comfort, answer difficult philosophical questions, and uplift people.
- Enabling Dementia Friendly Communities. Faith groups can help share values, create a welcoming and inclusive space, provide a service through to the end of life, challenge attitudes, and signpost to other organisations that can help. Faith communities are one of the few truly intergenerational spaces which allow children and people living with dementia to interact.
How can faith groups support people affected by dementia?
- Acknowledge dementia in services and programming. Uphold positive feelings in the community and change the language around dementia rather than focusing on grief. Suggest shorter services in your community with familiar songs and prayers specifically for people with dementia.
- Offer support. Places of worship can host support groups for people living with dementia and their carers, providing a safe space to exchange experiences.
- Provide a role. People with dementia still have a role to play and there are plenty of opportunities within a faith community to participate. For example, helping to maintain the place of worship, helping to serve food or drinks at celebrations, or assisting with services.
Become a Dementia Friend
Get in touch with us
We would love to hear about the work you are doing to support people affected by dementia!
Get in touch by emailing [email protected] with any questions about our work in this area, or about how to roll out Dementia Friends within your congregation.
You can request an Information Session for your congregation through the Dementia Friends website.
To find out what is happening in your local community, get in touch with the Dementia Friendly Communities team by emailing [email protected]
Tell people about your organisation
If you run a service in your local area, you can list it for free on our website through our Dementia Connect Service. You can raise awareness and promote your services to people in your local area. If you are looking to list your services, please go to Dementia Connect Business.
What work is Alzheimer’s Society doing in this area?
We hosted our first ever conference on faith. Over 100 people attended from various faith groups, including members of the Sikh, Jain, Jewish, Bahá'í and Muslim communities.
The conference focused on understanding how identity, faith and dementia interact, and the continued importance of faith to people living with dementia. Read more about our event on faith and dementia.
We have resources in multiple languages which we hope will lead to increased awareness and understanding in different communities.
We are producing guidance for specific faith groups with key examples of how you can support people living with dementia. These will be available later this year.
What other resources can I look at?
The resources below provide additional information about faith and dementia.
- TouchStone support - dementia
- Methodist Homes - Growing Dementia Friendly Churches
- Jewish Care - dementia services
- PHE Guide to healthy living: mosques
- Dementia-friendly Gurudwaras
- Prama Foundation - Dementia-friendly church
You can also read our blog posts on dementia-friendly festivals and celebrations:
What can faith groups do to support people affected by dementia during coronavirus?
We know faith can play a vital role in the lives and wellbeing of people living with and affected by dementia. We need faith groups across the country to take action and support people affected by dementia at this difficult time to keep them connected to their faith and their community in new and creative ways.
Here are some of the key actions you can do today to make a difference to people’s lives:
- Encourage volunteers to provide telephone support to isolated individuals.
- Ensure isolated residents have key contact numbers for food deliveries and support.
- Please remember to signpost for people affected by dementia to our Dementia Connect support line 0333 150 3456 for advice and support.
Read our resources in multiple languages
We produce a number of publications in different languages, including The dementia guide. Get your copies.