Presentation on theme: "‘Its still me, Lord…’ Some reflections on meeting the spiritual needs of people with dementia Ben Bano Project Manager Caritas Social Action Network Dementia."— Presentation transcript:
‘Its still me, Lord…’ Some reflections on meeting the spiritual needs of people with dementia Ben Bano Project Manager Caritas Social Action Network Dementia Project
Affirming our personhood All of us have spiritual needs All of us need to find and affirm our personhood – and that’s particularly important in dementia If I have dementia, I will want to express my spiritual needs even though physically and mentally I might be deteriorating.
And if I have a dementis My individuality counts, not my deficits I need to be loved I need to be included I need to be accepted I need comfort from those around me and from my environment I need to be occupied - to use my remaining abilities in a significant way
As dementia takes hold… ‘ As I travel towards the dissolution of my self, my personality, my very “essence”, my relationship with God needs increasing support from you, my other in the body of Christ. Don't abandon me at any stage, for the Holy Spirit connects us, it links our souls, our spirits—not our minds or brains. I need you to minister to me, to sing with me, pray with me, to be my memory for me’. (Bryden)
‘I need you to minister to me…’ Always include people with dementia in our parish communities – ‘Everybody’s welcome’ We need to be very flexible in ministering to people with dementia – people still have their favourite forms of liturgy… Some might want Communion or Mass at some times but not others Some might want to pray familiar prayers, for example the Rosary Some might want a ‘ministry of presence’ Familiar photos and treasured possessions are helpful – remember that long-term memory is often less impaired than shorter term memory
I need you to communicate with me… Speak slowly and calmly – I will need time to process information. I often will only understand the first and last words of a sentence… I will do things at my own pace However fragile I might appear to be, please don’t talk down to me…I’m still a person with my dignity and with my strengths…please don’t call me ‘love’ or darling And a gentle touch might be just the right thing
‘I need you to pray with me…’ Symbols are very important - here we have an example of symbols – in this Communion service a candle is lit for each person in the room.
‘I need you to be my memory for me…’ Some people find a memory box helpful – in which they can keep cherished possessions nearby. We can help by prompting treasured memories from pictures and experiences such First Communion, wedding and other events. And I need opportunities to celebrate Photos and pictures can serve as a reminder of special memories School certificates and other mementos can serve as reminders of achievement…
‘I need you to sing with me… Music and familiar hymns can be very helpful – but just occasionally they can be unhelpful… Large texts and familiar psalms and readings can be helpful…perhaps pictures of nature ?
As a carer I need you to think about my spiritual needs Carers can so often feel isolated from the Parish Community Carers often have a mix of complex emotions and feelings which need to be heard… Carers might feel ‘let down’… How can we minister to carers and families ? Remember – ‘Everybody’s welcome’
As a carer I need your ministry… Putting people in touch with the right services – for example memory services Social events and activities - including carers and families – making sure that respite care provides an opportunity for people to keep in touch with their Church Support Groups for carers and families Prayer Groups
‘Its still me, Lord…’ ‘Just as I am I come. This is me Lord, I hope you can remember who I am because I can’t always put a name or face to me. This is me Lord, I hope you know what you are doing because I can’t always, either for you or for me. This is me Lord, I hope you remember me just as I am.’ (From Malcolm Goldsmith)