When talking to faith groups and churches about helping people with dementia a question we ask is what would you miss most if you couldn’t get to church? More often that not the answer is ‘corporate worship’. It’s more than singing, of course; the fellowship and the experience of being in church together, listening to the Word and focusing on Jesus Christ is part of worship.
In church there are prompts that move us towards worship. The greetings at the door and the music that’s often playing quietly, the hymn numbers in the rack, the overhead screens, all are things that help us to enter in, and to engage: they are things we take for granted.
Many care home residents are too frail to go to church, so churches are taking services to them. In our housing and care homes there are devotions every day, often taken by the manager, or another member of staff, a more active resident or a volunteer from a local evangelical church. But sometimes, when you’re frailer and without the church prompts it’s harder to find the energy to engage; it’s easier to be passive and just let it all wash over you.
So we’ve devised a devotional resource for time with seniors in an A4, ring bound book called, ‘Worshipping Together’. From the outset, everyone is encouraged to be responsive and engaged, letting them know that their thoughts matter and that they are valued. Each devotion begins with a visual prompt giving a clue to the topic of the day, and a few questions to stimulate answers and discussion. Themes have been chosen that chime with the mindsets of those who are ‘up in years’, and are suitable for older people in small fellowship groups or even one-to-one with families in their own homes.
It’s available from our website: www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk