Amongst the thousands of people who attend our church services each week, there are a significant numbers of people living with dementia and their carers. Our clergy, Eucharistic Ministers, Religious Sisters and Brothers, SVP members and chaplains to hospitals and care homes are also ministering to a large number of people with dementia who are unable to attend church. Growing Old Grace-fully aim to support the Diocese in treating people living with dementia with respect, to deliver a person centred service that is based on Catholic teaching and will utilise the skills and resources in the wider Catholic community to enable those with dementia to fulfil their pastoral and spiritual needs, both in the church and in the wider community.
Research shows that people with dementia continue to connect with their spiritual tradition, to have a spiritual life, and that worship and prayer have hugely beneficial effects on how they feel.
Leeds is now a dementia friendly Diocese
We are delighted that our Diocese is now a member of the Dementia Action Alliance (Yorkshire & Humberside) and our Action Plan is on their website here. Thank you to our Working Group for all for their help and support in getting this far and thank you to Bishop Marcus who has been very supportive of this initiative and given his blessing and support for Growing Old Grace-fully to lead the process. We officially launched this initiative at the Caritas Leeds Day of Reflection on 6th October 2018.
Part of the Action Plan is to develop spiritual resources for parishes and individuals to use, which will be available online. Deacon Joe Cortis, Co-ordinator for Caritas Leeds and GOG Trustee, has led the development of short guidelines for priests, ministers and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist for offering communion to a person with dementia, available here.
The role of parishes
Parishes have a huge role to play in helping people live well with dementia. We all need to work towards being more dementia friendly so that everyone feels they are not just included in parish life, but that they really belong.
Are you interested in your own Parish becoming more Dementia Friendly?