How to plan a Dementia Friendly Service

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Keep the service short, maybe a maximum of twenty minutes and choose familiar hymns and prayers. It might even be possible to hold this service before the usual service, on a Sunday afternoon or as a separate midweek service. This is not to say that someone with dementia is not welcome at the main services, in fact that would be wrong, but rather that there is a service option if someone with dementia really struggles with the normal service.

There is no reason why the service theme does not track with the main service and this should help reduce the amount of preparation for the service leader. Just keep the key theme simple, ideally with just one point (not three or five or ten - we know you preachers!)

When preparing for the service it may help those attending if you produce service sheets which have the order of service in, the hymns all in large print. It also may help if there is some pictorial content to guide participation.

If possible always try and follow the service with a time of fellowship run by a small team of Dementia Friends trained volunteers where the carers could build their own support groups and friendships.

If you use a set liturgical style stick with this. The goal is to keep the services feel familiar but shorter.

Try and make hymns play quite a large part in the suggested structure (even if you only sing the first verse and chorus). This is because current thinking is that singing is good for the brain.

“The power of music, especially singing, to unlock memories and kickstart the grey matter is an increasingly key feature of dementia care. It seems to reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot."

'We tend to remain contactable as musical beings on some level right up to the very end of life,' says Professor Paul Robertson, a concert violinist and academic who has made a study of music in dementia care“ AgeUK

If you want support and help in developing Dementia Friendly services why not contact is through our support page

Planning a dementia friendly service


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