There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK – a number expected to rise to over a million by 2025. Given the scale of the issue, many people who are part of faith communities will be affected either directly or indirectly.
At the same time, faith communities have something important to offer. Not only can they help support people living with dementia and their carers – they can also help to prevent dementia from developing in the first place by promoting social interaction and healthy lifestyles.
We have created a collection of inspiring examples of how faith communities from different traditions are tackling these issues and becoming dementia friendly.
We have also built a collection of resources about dementia suitable for faith communities.
Let us know if you have good practice or resources on faith and dementia to share.
Our work on dementia builds on our Friendly Places initiative.
Our discussions with faith groups have highlighted what faith has to offer to people living with dementia and their carers. This includes:
- A rhythm of life and a way to connect people with their faith and with each other, based on deep memories and traditions.
- The power of prayer to uplift (the person being prayed for and the person praying) and heal.
- A way of connecting people with others so they are not isolated and can continue to function as part of the community.
- Practical support, especially people who are isolated, eg: help with transport or taking medication
- A community of people who share values of care, compassion and love.
- An opportunity to talk about health: eg healthy lifestyles and how to make changes.
- The framework developed by the Faith Communities Action Group (Part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, of which FaithAction is a part):
- A supportive network that works across generations
- Help with thinking through the big questions of life that dementia can raise
- A great capacity for innovative responses, with people who are passionate, motivated and available to help other people