If you are concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you might find some of the organisations and resources listed below useful. If you would like to talk to somebody in confidence, please speak to your minister or contact one of the following help lines:
- Alzheimer’s Society 0300 222 11 22
- Alzheimer’s Society (Hull & East Riding) 01482 211 255
- Admiral Nursing Direct 0845 257 9406
What is dementia?
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are others.
The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for some with dementia they have become severe enough to effect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood and behaviour.
The Alzheimer’s Society has produced an excellent factsheet ‘What is dementia?’ It explains what dementia is, including the causes and symptoms, and how it is diagnosed and treated. It also looks at some of the different types of dementia. You can download the factsheet here.
I think I might have dementia
Forgetting where you put your car keys or finding it difficult to put a name to a face happens to us all from time to time. However, if you are worried that your memory is getting worse or is affecting your everyday life, it’s important to seek advice.
If you are worried about your memory the first thing to do is to talk to your GP. You may then be referred to a local memory clinic or hospital specialist for assessment where a formal diagnosis can be made. It is worth noting that memory loss can be caused other things such as depression, infections and vitamin deficiencies.
You can download a useful leaflet ‘Worried about your memory?’ here.
I am concerned about the memory of someone I care about.
It can be difficult to talk about memory loss with someone you care about. It is important to remember that memory loss can be caused by other things such as depression, infections and vitamin deficiencies. If you can, try to encourage the person to visit their GP to receive an accurate diagnosis and get the support and treatment that they may need.
If you are finding it difficult to persuade the person to visit their GP and you are concerned for their welfare, contact one of the help lines above for advice.
I have been diagnosed with dementia or am caring for someone with dementia and I am looking for advice and support
Your GP or consultant will be able to provide you with access to advice and support providers in your region. However, the Alzheimer's Society has a Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire website, which give details of all of its regional services. These include:
- Dementia Adviser: Pauline Morris offers confidential and impartial advice, and helps with access to services, emotional support and information about legal issues and benefits. Telephone 01482 211 255
- Memory Cafés: Cafés are facilitated by a member of staff and offer an opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to meet and socialise with others affected by dementia. You can find a list of Memory Cafés, locations and times here.
- Carer Information and Support Programme: The Alzheimer’s Society run a free 4-week programme held in venues across the East Riding. For dates and further information, visit their website.
- Befriending: For people in the early to moderate stages of dementia. The service, provided by the Alzheimer’s Society, enables the person with dementia to enjoy a hobby or interest with a volunteer.
- Singing for the Brain: Held monthly on Friday at Willerby Methodist Church, 1.30pm – 3pm. Cost: £2 per session including refreshments. As numbers are limited, please contact 01482 211255.
If you are starting out on this journey and you would like to talk to somebody in the church family then do ask Jonathan. There are a number of individuals who would be happy to share their stories and their hard won experience
A Christian perspective on dementia
How do those with dementia continue to get spiritually fed? How can we remember not to forget God during times of suffering? How can we help those with dementia remember God?
‘Second Forgetting: Remembering the power of the Gospel during Alzheimer’s disease’ by Dr. Benjamin Mast, is an excellent book that focuses on the fact that whatever we may forget, God always remembers. You can buy this book here.
Another excellent resource is a website run by Dr Jennifer Bute. Jennifer retired early from her career as a GP following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. She offers an informed view of dementia both from a Christian perspective and from the 'inside'. The website features a series of teaching modules as well as an excellent list of resources and is highly recommended. www.glorious opportunity.org
Being with God is a series of Bible and prayer guides from Scripture Union for people with dementia and those struggling with memory loss. Below is a guide for praying with people with dementia written by Jonathan Juckes. Click to download.Praying with a family member who is living with Dementia.pdf
The Pilgrim’s Friend Society have published
a Dementia Pack with detailed and easy to read leaflets on all aspects of
dementia with a strong Christian emphasis throughout. The pack costs £5 and you
can order it online here.
Other publications from The Pilgrim’s Friend Society include:
Dementia: Frank & Linda's StoryWorshipping with Dementia
How can I support friends and members of my church who are living with dementia?
The key thing to remember when you are with someone who has dementia is that there is more to that person than dementia. With support, people with dementia can and do take an active role in life. Dementia Friends offers a free Information Session for people who would like to know a bit more about dementia and how they can relate to those with dementia in a positive way. To find a session near you visit their website.