Every three minutes, every day, every week, somebody in Britain receives the news that they have dementia. This is the magnitude of the problem. More often than not, this leads to incredible strain being placed on the family; be that financial, physical, emotional or spiritual. With more than 850,000 now living with dementia, it is likely that we all know somebody who has the condition.
The Union of Welsh Independents believe that our churches are in a strong position to offer valuable support, on many levels, to people who live with dementia and their families and carers.
In the first place we have resources and facilities that may be of great assistance in offering a safe meeting place to hold various events such as crafts hour, memory cafés, musical sessions or a place to play games.
Secondly, we are caring communities that believe in aiding our neighbours and fellow humans, and we can offer our services in different ways according to need. Sometimes, there could be a need for a weekly rota with individuals offering to sit with someone for an hour or two, or to be available for a chat at the other end of the phone.
Thirdly, our existing church services can be a comfort as they are held in warm and familiar environments for those who have memories of singing hymns and hearing Bible verses.
Finally, we must remember that the spiritual needs of many who live with dementia are not met. Dementia should not be a barrier for people to come to worship. We should welcome people and also create special services tailored for people with dementia.
This is why we are leading a campaign to make all our churches dementia-friendly. This means that we educate our members and officers, advise families about the help that is available and work together with other movements and denominations to make a stand for the rights of the individual, their carers and families.