Some thoughts on dementia.

with Graham Carter.

Before you close this page, just stop and think about the images the word “dementia” conjures up in your mind.

What is the first image? You may be living with dementia, or caring for someone who is living with dementia. If that is the situation then the next few lines will be familiar to you.

Firstly let me be honest and say that, personally, I have no experience of living with dementia and all that follows is by way of listening and watching people who live with dementia, and by way of talking with people who have the responsibility of providing services to carers and those living with dementia.

Dementia is, in fact, a fairly generic term and, at this point in time (2016) there over 100 recognised forms of the disease, because that is what, in fact, is happening to the brain.

As you will be aware, dementia has been recognised as a significant future issue and there is currently a huge amount of research being undertaken into both the causes, and treatment of the disease. In 2017, dementia was identified as the prime cause of death and only in the last week there was the record of a young mother in her 30’s dying from a rare form of dementia.

However, what is important to recognise is that people living with dementia can have a good quality of life, but what we need to do is, firstly to recognise that someone may be living with dementia and secondly to find ways of helping that person continue to live with dementia.

Given the wide range of presentations, it is quite challenging for us to meet the needs of those with whom we may come into contact, but there are awareness raising sessions available run by people who have had some training and who are keen to share their knowledge.

For us who worship God, there are many issues with which we will struggle, not the least of which is whether we may experience living with dementia. There is much evidence that the routine associated with worship, especially music, is one way in which people living with dementia can feel part of the community. Rest assured, though, people are becoming more and more aware of those living with dementia, and the ways in which they can be included.

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