‘Dementia Action and Awareness’ online workshop Sat 22nd May 2pm

Want to deepen your knowledge about Dementia?

At this event you will hear firsthand the story of someone living with dementia and the story of a carer of a person living with dementia, followed by a choice of interesting workshops.

Leeds Caritas and partners (Dementia Friendly Forum) have organised this event as part of Dementia Action Week to explore the experiences of those living with dementia, and ways in which we can support them in church and everyday life.

Growing Old Gracefully is pleased to be involved in the planning and running of this important event.


  • Short Liturgy
  • Voice of a person living with Dementia
  • Voice of a Carer
  • Break out rooms/workshops (you can choose from one of the following):
  1. Dementia Awareness
  2. Types of Communication with people living with dementia
  3. Dementia and Faith
  4. Current Dementia Campaigns
  5. Advanced Care Planning
  • Plenary
  • Where to find out more online
  • Call to Action

TO ATTEND PLEASE EMAIL GREGORY STACEY BY 19th MAY AT gregory.stacey@dioceseofleeds.org.uk and state your first and second choices for the workshop topics above. Thank you.

Online Dementia Friends sessions now available weekly

Recognising how hard it has been for people who are living with dementia during the COVID crisis, and the increasing need for us all to understand dementia better,  Dementia Friendly Leeds now has weekly online Dementia Friends sessions.

To book your place, click HERE and look for ‘Dementia Friends for Volunteers in Leeds‘. They are every MONDAY at 12 noon.

A Dementia Friend is simply somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community be more dementia friendly. Dementia Friends help by raising awareness and understanding, so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want. As part of the work of the Friendly Communities project we want to support volunteers and staff in Leeds to be able to offer good support for people who are living with dementia.

Maybe you had been meaning to attend a Dementia Friends session before but hadn’t got round to it, or maybe you have recently become more aware of dementia and how it affects people you know. Or perhaps you attended a session a few years ago and would like a refresher…

..Well now you can attend an informal online session right in your own home!

How to book:

  • The sessions are every Monday at 12.00 – 12:40 online (they will be adding more on different days).
  • The session will either be a webinar (sound and no video, using typing to join in) or livestream (using sound, video and some typing).
  • Go to the Dementia Friends website to register with your contact details then you can book your place.
  • Look for the sessions with the title: Dementia Friends for Volunteers in Leeds which are scheduled on Mondays at 12:00.

Short of time? Alternatively Alzheimer’s Society offers a 5 minute Dementia Friends video for people who do not have time to do the 40 minute interactive session.

Accessibility: Get in touch if you have any questions about the accessibility of the sessions,  if you need to do the session at a different time or if you have any other questions.

Contact for queries: Jude@opforum.org.uk

To book your place, click HERE and look for ‘Dementia Friends for Volunteers in Leeds‘. They are every MONDAY at 12 noon.

How to become Age and Dementia Friendly – a useful guide from Time to Shine

Need some help to ensure your church or Parish Hall is more Age and Dementia Friendly?

Time to Shine have developed a detailed and useful guide for businesses and organisations to support and encourage you to take action to become age and dementia friendly.

Leeds Diocese – Dementia Friendly Carol Service, 8th December 2018

Thank you to everyone who supported the first Dementia Friendly Service of Lessons and Carols at the Cathedral Church of St Anne this weekend.

The children from Holy Rosary and St Anne’s Catholic Primary School sang beautifully and their teachers Jo and Liz were there to lead them.  One person said “The choir were just beautiful. I could have listened to them and watched them all afternoon. Gorgeous expressions and good little singers. A credit to the school.”

Nearly everyone came next door to Wheeler Hall after the Service for mince pies and mulled wine.  Thanks to Tesco Express St Paul’s store who donated a lot of the refreshments.  It was a warm gathering with old friends reconnected and new friends made, despite wet and windy weather and the night drawing in.

“Yet, in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”  Phillips Brooks

If your parish would like to hold a Dementia Friendly Service of Lessons and Carols then here is more information and our Service Booklet.

Dementia Friendly Parishes in our Diocese

I was made so welcome at two different parishes in Dewsbury Deanery this month.

I enjoyed my visit to the Happy Memories Group at St Paulinus Church Hall, Dewsbury last Thursday.  This group is run by volunteers and run activity groups for people with a dementia type illness and their carers. They are active, lively groups, with activities designed to stimulate and exercise both body and mind. Carers have a choice of staying for the session or having a break for the session.

The driving force behind Happy Memories is Cath Knowles, shown here with husband Ron who also is very involved in supporting the Group.

Cath told me “I run the Group and have done for 11 years. We are all volunteers and consist of 4 groups in total.  We have around 90 people on our books and we support carers and former carers.I have applied to make our group a dementia friendly group and this is a work in progress.  Although we meet at St Paulinus Parochial Hall twice a month, we are not specifically a church group and people come from all over North Kirklees to attend our groups.We also have a group that meets at St Andrews Methodist Church Hall in Mirfield twice a month, a luncheon Club Monthly and a carers friendship group monthly.”

The Group are doing much needed work to help support people living with dementia and their carers.  They are supported financially by local community groups and individuals, but get no statutory funding.


Last Saturday I was back in the deanery sharing a Dementia Friends session at St Paul of the Cross in Cleckheaton.  I was delighted that 25 people, including parishioners from St Mary of the Angels in Batley, came to the session and each attendee became a Dementia Friend.  Parish priest Fr Nicholas commented “Simply bringing people together is important, allowing them to know that they are not facing issues in isolation”.  It was very good to attend a quiet Mass after the session with some of the people I met. Thank you to all who came along for your warm welcome and thoughtful contributions.


Don’t forget that it’s Dementia Action Week  from 21st-27th May 2018, and I would love to hear what your parish or local community are doing to help people live well with dementia.

Rachel Walker, Project Co-ordinator

Memory loss and the needs of the Irish community

Growing Old Grace-fully were so pleased to be invited to an event at Leeds Irish Centre by Leeds Irish Health & Homes, to hear the findings of some recent research into memory loss and the needs of the Irish community.

One of the findings of this research that struck home with me was the importance of being with people who understand our culture when we are living with dementia; people who speak our language either literally or figuratively speaking.  A friend told me that dementia took away her Polish-born mum’s ability to speak English, even though she was a fluent English speaker for 50 years, but her mum could still speak Polish.

You can read more about the event here http://www.lihh.org/memory-loss-and-the-irish-community-the-report-from-our-launch-event

Being with people who understand our culture is part of feeling we belong.  It’s why we need to work hard to ensure that people who have been part of the parish life do not feel excluded if they develop dementia.   Please think about whether your parish could run a short session on Becoming a Dementia-Friendly Parish which Growing Old Grace-fully would be delighted to run.

Rachel Walker



More Dementia Friends in Leeds Diocese

st-john-the-evangelist-2Mary Mother of God, Bradford, are now the 5th Parish in our Diocese to start the process of becoming a recognised ‘dementia-friendly Parish’.

Thank you to everyone who attended ‘Becoming a Dementia-Friendly Parish’ session on Tuesday 20th September.   Growing Old Grace-fully was given such a warm welcome, which started with evening mass.   17 people each became a Dementia Friend, including two people from the local community who are not parishioners.

We discovered that many of us know people with dementia, or we may be living with the disease ourselves.  It was a privilege to share our stories and, in this sharing, remove some of the fear and stigma around dementia.  Being a dementia-friendly parish offers an opportunity to reach out to those who are most vulnerable and voiceless in society and to show the love of God in action.

Thank you again to all who attended, to Sharon for organising the event and to Fr Paul for his kind words on the parish Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Parish-of-Mary-Mother-of-God-Bradford-1689970151222546/



Liverpool – a dementia-friendly Archdiocese

Liverpool are the first Roman Catholic Archdiocese to join the Dementia Action Alliance – so they can display this badge.

Dem Friendly logo

Being Dementia-Friendly means being Later-Life-Friendly.  We would be so delighted if Leeds Diocese were the next Diocese to join.

You can read about Liverpool’s plans in this article from the July edition of their magazine Dementia-friendly Church article ArchDiocese of Liverpool


More Dementia Friends in our Diocese… it’s growing!

Dementia Friends at St Joseph's

St Joseph’s, Wetherby are now the 4th Parish in our Diocese to start the process of becoming a recognised ‘dementia-friendly Parish’.

Thank you to all the people who attended ‘Becoming a Dementia-Friendly Parish’ session on Monday 18th July.   Growing Old Grace-fully was given such a warm welcome on a very warm evening, and 15 people each became a Dementia Friend.

A dementia-friendly Parish is one where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported and are confident they can contribute to Parish life.

2016'07'18 Dementia Certificate from Bradford DAAEarlier the same day, Growing Old Grace-fully received our Award from Bradford & District Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), in recognition of our work.  Here’s Trustee Ann West receiving our Certificate from Chris North of Bradford DAA.

Would you like you like your Parish to think about growing in dementia-friendliness?  Please email Rachel at growing.old.gracefully@dioceseofleeds.org.uk or call 07702 255142 to book your session or find out more.


Dementia Friends at Blessed John Henry Newman

Thank you to all the people who attended ‘Becoming a Dementia-Friendly Parish’ session at Corpus Christi on Wednesday 18th May.   Growing Old Grace-fully was given such a warm welcome and there was lots of interesting and lively interaction which resulted in 20 people each becoming a Dementia Friend.

Dementia isn’t a natural part of ageing.  One of the people we talked about was Christine Bryden, a top civil servant, who was diagnosed with dementia in 1995 at the age of 46.  ‘My journey’, she wrote, ‘is to the inner self; to the reflection in the divine within.  This is what gives me an abiding sense of meaning as I travel the journey from diagnosis to death.’  She’s now 66 and still giving talks about what it means to live with dementia.  Christine Bryden’s books “Who will I be when I die?” and “Dancing with dementia” are published by Jessica Kingsley.