What is a Dementia Friendly Organisation?

​What is a Dementia Friendly Organisation?

People are often happier if they can live independently in their own homes for longer. Dementia friendly communities are villages, towns and cities where more people understand dementia, there is less fear and avoidance, and people living with dementia are included and supported to live independently for longer.

What is a Dementia Friendly Church?

To be a ‘Dementia-Friendly Church’ is to find ways to minister to people with dementia so that they know with everything in their being that they are ‘held by God’ as they are helped to experience once again life in all its fullness that Jesus promised to all.


Growing a Dementia-Friendly Church is always work in progress. It will take on a life of its own, it will develop, and it will grow and continue to grow.


It is much more than:
Installing a ramp and a loop system
• Having a nice warm church with comfy seats
• Having clean toilets and hand washing facilities
• A friendly welcome at the door


While all these are important, all the loop systems, the ramps, and the other outward things we do to make our churches welcoming and inclusive are not what being dementia-friendly is about.

Most other ways in which disabilities are catered for in church are concerned with adapting buildings, but being dementia-friendly means that people have to change in both their expectation and their approach so that those who are on the sometimes long journey into dementia can still feel part of the church community for as long as is possible. They cannot do it for themselves, but need others to be attentive and anticipate where there might be problems.  And this is often the stumbling point, because this requires that people change their attitude and look out for each other.

A ‘DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY CHURCH’ WOULD:

(1) Accept and value people regardless of cognitive abilities,

(2)  Ensure that the person who has dementia, and those who support them, are cared for through all the stages of the illness. 

(3)  Make sure that the person who has dementia, and their friends or  family members, are both spiritually and pastorally supported and nurtured in order for them to enjoy being a part of a worshipping community in every sense.

(4)  Be open to what people with dementia have to offer, look for strengths and abilities, then support and encourage the use of these gifts so that that they may participate in the community that is the body of Christ.

(1) accept and value people regardless of cognitive abilities,

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