I wonder if you know of anyone who is living with dementia – maybe someone from your family, maybe someone from your church or your local community, maybe yourself. More than 700,000 people across the country are living with dementia, many of whom are supported by family caregivers. Many people with dementia are part of our local churches – and the pandemic has had an increased impact on many of them.
People with dementia experience unintended challenges. Within our Diocese of Lichfield Diocese of Dementia Friendly Churches, we are focusing this fall on three images that help us see the big picture, noticing the presence of God as dementia progresses. . Perhaps these three images can help us all to walk together through the changes and challenges of the pandemic and of life.
If I look through a kaleidoscope and see a nice pattern, I might want to show it to you. But if my hand jogs while I pass it to you, it’s gone – the pattern has changed. Rather than focusing on the old model that’s gone, can we together see the light shine through a different model?
With dementia, we might spend all of our time just focusing on the old model that was good but is gone; or we can recognize that the pattern is changing and seek the light in the new pattern that is emerging.
How have models changed for you and for others recently? Can you use the kaleidoscope image to help you notice the light shining through, in a new pattern?
In Hebrews 13: 1-3, the author says, âImagine what it is like to be a prisoner. Imagine what it is like to be abused. It is about entering wholeheartedly into another person’s world.
“height =” 29 “hspace =” 12 “src =” blob: https: //lichfield.anglican.org/3d891d5a-0f95-402d-9ad8-10ce56cdbc5e “width =” 259 “/> In dementia it is important to go with feelings rather than facts, not to contradict or challenge, but to cross the bridge.When we cross the bridge, we enter another person’s world, meeting them where they are.
God always meets us where we are – but never lets us there! Can you use the image of the bridge to meet someone else where they are, travel to be by their side, see things from their point of view?
Have you ever wondered why wild geese fly in a “V” formation? Scientists have discovered that geese work together, taking turns to take the lead. Flying in formation, they can fly 70% farther than any bird could fly alone.
We have found that it is the same with dementia. When we can work together, we work as a team and we can help people with dementia live well, longer.
Through the pandemic, we are rediscovering the need to work as a community – both locally and globally. None of us can go it alone. Can the image of geese flying in formation encourage us to work through our churches and communities, walking together in new ways?
To learn more about the Diocese of Lichfield’s Diocese of Lichfield’s Dementia-Friendly Church Network, contact Sarah Thorpe, Head of Dementia-Friendly Churches, at email@example.com or 0798 224 8949
Images: from top to bottom:
PATTERN EDIT – (Photo – Creative Commons v1ctory_1s_m1ne)
CROSS THE BRIDGE – (Photo – Creative Commons Chris)
WORKING TOGETHER – (Photo – Creative Commons James Wilamour)