A new initiative in Keynsham last month had a successful start in enabling those who are living with dementia to attend a short church service to follow their faith.
Seven people living with dementia together with their carers attended the service and were supported by a number of representatives from other churches in the town and indeed Saltford.
A member of St Dunstan’s church, Keynsham, Barbara Outhwaite came up with the idea of providing a short twenty minute service on a Sunday afternoon so that Christians, or indeed anyone, having a faith or not, living with dementia could attend without committing an hour or so to a full service and any issues that it might cause them.
Barbara told us “The first service was a very positive start to this new initiative and reassured me that our efforts were worthwhile in enabling those living with dementia to continue to follow their faith in a supportive and non challenging environment. This furthers the work of Churches Together in Keynsham and Saltford. (CTKS).”
Supported by CTKS, Barbara also found ready support from the Keynsham and Saltford Dementia Action Alliance (K&SDAA) who helped at the service and afterwards providing tea, coffee and cake in the church hall.
Chairman of K&SDAA Alan Hale told us “Working with Barbara and CTKS was very worthwhile and the attendance of those living with dementia was good. Our ‘Music For The Mind’ only attracted single figures to begin with but we are now seeing up to eighteen people living with dementia at our event so I have every faith that the church services will grow and attract more people living with dementia. This initiative fits in well with our ongoing work to making Keynsham and Saltford more dementia friendly.
On Sunday November 3rd the second service will be a Remembrance Service and will start at 3pm and last for half an hour and be followed by a tea.
Whilst primarily for those living with dementia or any type of memory problem and their carers and families, the services will be open to anyone wishing to support such a worthy venture to just turn up. For those living with dementia but not regular worshippers the aim is to give them the experience of being inside a church in an atmosphere of calm and is also supported by Outreach to Older People as part of the ongoing work of CTKS.
St Dunstan’s Church on Bristol Road Keynsham is ideal for this event as it has a good car park, and wheelchair access into the church and with toilet facilities for the disabled in the adjacent church hall. The service is open to all who live with dementia and their carers.
A picture from the event and short video are shown below.