Dementia Friendly Church.
Live well with dementia
“Dementia affects many families across the diocese. And the questions around how we care spiritually for people living with the disease are challenging”, according to David Primrose, Director of Transforming Communities for the Diocese of Lichfield.
“I’m delighted that Bishop Mark has been able and willing to pioneer this three-year appointment and we are looking forward to seeing how this ministry (for which Sarah is wonderfully qualified) develops.”
In January 2015, Bishop Mark Rylands licensed Sarah Thorpe as the first Dementia Support Worker for the Church of England in north Shropshire. What will be the ministry of our Dementia Support Worker? Watch the video to find out.
Sarah is available to help churches support families living with dementia. For some, that may simply be raising awareness of the condition and its implications for families: for others it may be to advise on the provision of services or ministry especially to help families affected by dementia.
For more information, email Sarah firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07982 248949
MASE (Monthly Alzheimer’s Support Evening)
Does the MASE make a difference?
Many carers experience social isolation and this is especially true when caring for someone with a dementia type illness. The MASE help to reduce this problem and the Carers themselves are able to exchange telephone numbers and build up a network of friends who are in similar situations. Attendances are increasing with some families even making an effort to travel to the different locations.
This helps to demonstrate the true importance and value of the MASE.
Carers regularly express how much they enjoy attending the MASE and the difference it has made to their lives. This is something for them to look forward to and helps with emotional well being and can avoid depression. Many carers initially appear low and stressed and see their future as bleak and lonely but meeting and chatting to others can throw a different light on things, particularly with the network of supportive friendships that are formed.
The MASE is sensitive in its approach and responds to the changing needs that occur to families living with someone with dementia. A social evening out can help people maintain and promote their independence and by giving support and information enables them to have more control over their lives when faced with making difficult choices.
What happens at a MASE?
Fundamentally the MASE aims to provide social support and information for people with dementia, their carers, family and friends.
An assortment of leaflets are on-hand outlining services, benefits and resources available for people with dementia and their carers, from Health, Social Services, voluntary organisations and the private sector. There is also the opportunity to ask questions of professionals in a protected and confidential environment.
No charge is made for visitors to the MASE and each Carer receives a raffle ticket on entry; six prizes are raffled and this ensures only Carers win a prize. All raffle prizes are donated by local businesses and sometimes by the Carers themselves.
A local catering company supports the MASE by providing and delivering the buffet. Included are a selection of soft drinks, or tea and coffee. A local lady from Haughton very kindly bakes and sends 6 cakes for each of the evenings.
Following the buffet there is musical entertainment, where the atmosphere changes to more of a social event. People sing along to the tunes and sometimes even dance; for many they have not had the opportunity to do this for some time. Alternatively another activity takes place, ‘Musical bingo’ or ‘Name that Tune’ followed by a time for chatting and making new friends.
The success of the MASE would not be possible without the regular commitment of volunteers, of which there are twenty, all recognisable by their red blouses or shirts. Some are professionals from Health, Social Care or other third sector organisations, many are actual Carers, who have perhaps lost their loved one and who find great reward by bringing their wealth of knowledge and understanding to others in a similar situation. Volunteers are essential to the MASE as they are always on-hand to answer questions and give emotional support, whilst at the same time ‘waiting on’ the people attending the MASE.