Worship helps us to hold ourselves together. In one of his devotional books, Selwyn Hughes, one of Wales’ best-loved preachers, pointed out that in worship we find unity, not just with God but within ourselves.

He wrote,

‘How do we get the framework, the sense of structure we need to be able to move effectively from one day to another, in a
world where everything that seemed to be nailed down is coming apart? It is to be found in our worship of God. We enter
into the presence of the Lord and lo, His unity becomes our unity. ‘

Unity – the integrity of self – is the focus of good care for people with dementia. We see in our care homes how worship contributes to their well-being, from calm when Grace is said at mealtimes, to the devotions taken daily.

For people with dementia, simplicity is paramount. Not the simplicity associated with childishness, but the elegant simplicity delivered
by a good children’s teacher. For people with dementia are not childish: throughout their lives they have learnt and experienced much.
They have gone through the ‘fiery furnace’ and the ‘deep waters’.

Even though the brain that processes thoughts and memories is damaged, the person is still the same person – he or she is an adult, not a child.

(From ‘Worshipping with Dementia’,  2010, Louise Morse, Lion Monarch. )

 

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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