10. Dementia-friendly churches, England

Where: Oxfordshire and elsewhere, England

Who is involved: Diocese of Oxford, Spiritual Concern for Older People (SCOP), local parishes and other church organisations.

Nature of activity: The Diocese of Oxford (Church of England) runs dementia awareness training and other initiatives to increase understanding of dementia amongst churchgoers. Their website lists include good access, signposting, and welcome; accessible toilets; help with transport needs; convenient service times; user-friendly service sheets; familiar words and music; low-demand community activities, for example singing or coffee mornings; services or other events to celebrate care-giving; links with local care homes; involvement with local community initiatives on dementia; key congregation members having completed some dementia awareness and adult safeguarding training.

In the autumn of 2015 they are focusing on pilot projects in individual churches which they hope can act as beacons of good practice across the diocese. So, for example, one church has invited the advisor for spiritual care for older people to preach on spirituality and dementia at one of their Sunday services aimed at adults, and then return the following week to facilitate an all age service in which the congregation will construct memory boxes together.

A book on the subject of worship in care homes is due to be published in late 2016 by BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship). It will be based on materials used in a presentation produced by the Rev Collicutt which includes guidance on community building; setting the scene; the act of worship; how to dress; the use of visual resources such as slides; and seasonal prompts.

Other Church of England dioceses across England are involved in dementia-friendly activities. Also Catholic and other Christian denominations in various parts of Europe are taking action. For more information on any of these, contact your local parish or comparable organisation.

Website: http://www.oxford.anglican.org/dementia-friendly-churches/