Diocese of Bradford
The Diocese of Bradford is one of 44 dioceses that make up the Church of England. Through its parish system the C of E has a Christian presence in every community; serving people where they live in the name of Jesus Christ. The Diocese of Bradford covers Bradford Meteropolitan District and much of the Yorkshire Dales.
- 16 January 2015
- Yorkshire and Humber
- Membership Organisations, Care
- Local Alliances:
- Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Action Alliance, Bradford District Dementia Action Alliance
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
Christianity is built on spiritual and religious traditions that encourage us, in the strongest possible terms, to reach out to those at risk of being marginalized by society. Our Lord Jesus himself modeled the importance of this in his own life on earth and has set the pattern that all Christians seek to follow. God does not value people according to their memory and intellectual skills but loves each one of us unconditionally. All people, whether cognitively impaired or not, are God’s children and his treasured possessions. It is, therefore, very important that people with dementia are treated with dignity and compassion within His Church.
The Diocese of Bradford is a network of 120 parish churches spread across the Bradford Metropolitan District and Craven District areas. Parish churches are important within communities and can offer the following:
Meeting the spiritual needs of people with dementia
- Helping people get to church and be supported at church.
Offering Holy Communion, prayer and spiritual fellowship at home or in residential care.
Pastoral support for people with dementia and their carers to share the caring role:
- Getting alongside
- Helping with practical tasks that can lighten the load
- Ensuring people with dementia and their carers still feel welcome at church and part of the church family
Parish churches are key links in local communities and have valuable resources:
- Buildings that can be used for events and support groups
- Networks and noticeboards for publicity and awareness-raising
Parish churches are well placed to link with churches of other denominations to build effective Christian ministries that maximize support and inclusion of people with dementia and their carers in the local community
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
Dementia continues to be surrounded by fears and stigmas which create significant barriers to awareness, communication and engagement with the issues:
Dementia is regarded with fear, even dread, by many. This is especially true for older people, most of whom have witnessed dementia happening to someone close to them, either friend or family. Some people are able to adapt and find fulfillment in caring and supporting, but others are left with very difficult feelings relating to fear, grief and inadequacy which are a barrier to engagement and can give rise to defensive or dismissive attitudes and a tendency to ‘fall away’ from those who need help.
The stigma surrounding dementia also means that those who are affected, both the person and the carer, often feel embarrassed and ashamed and do not want to step forward to say they need some help and support. The process of encouraging people to come forward and get help, therefore, is also complex and needs to be handled with a lot of sensitivity and care.
There are limitations on how much care and support people within congregations can provide; support of people with dementia, therefore, must compete with other needs within congregations and communities.
This also applies to clergy and church officials who are increasingly ‘time poor’ and may feel that there are more pressing demands on their time and energy.
Appoint an Adviser on Dementia issues
(1) Appoint an Adviser on Dementia Issues to be a point of contact for anyone with concerns or good ideas and to organize awareness-raising activities through events, newsletters and the Diocesan website. The aims of these activities will be to:
Impart key facts about dementia quickly and clearly; Be clear about the social and spiritual issues for people with dementia and their families and how we can help; Ensure material is presented in a non-judgmental manner, leaving time for plenty of opportunity for people to share feelings and fears; Consider how to build strong pastoral networks within parish churches to support people with dementia and their carers within congregations.
(2) Undertake in-depth work with a small number of churches looking at wider community engagement to better understand opportunities, barriers and solutions. The learning from this work will feed into awareness raising activities and form the basis from which good practice can spread more widely.
Link to External Initiatives
(4) Link into relevant initiatives and projects being run by other organizations (e.g. the national Alzheimer Society’s Dementia Friends programme and local Alzheimer Society projects) and with local organizations (e.g. volunteering agencies, Age UK Bradford, befriending schemes, University of the Third Age, ) to encourage more people to volunteer and get involved.
Organise 'What is Dementia Friendly Church' workshops
Two workshops are planned for 2015 in the Leeds/Ripon area of the Diocese to help churches uncerstand the issues facing people with dementia and their carers and how they can join in with national initiatives such as Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly communities
Develop a database of churches with an interest in becoming dementia friendly
Develop a database of contact details of all churches expressing an interest in being 'dementia friendly' to aid dissemination of best practice and new initiatives
Create a web area
Create a web area so that resources can be more easily accessed together with links to other initiatives and organisations