I’ve been watching a presentation about dementia from Skimstone Arts – part of the year’s Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture from Faith in Older People (FIOP)
Like most clergy, I have spent a lot of time with elderly people – and particularly with people with dementia. Faith is very deep in people. So hymns, prayers, bible stories can trigger response from people who may be otherwise somewhat disconnected. And there is some satisfaction in that. The Lord’s Prayer tended to be a particular marker of what it was possible to bring to the surface
But as I watched Jack and Jill, I remembered the feelings which I experienced with elderly people in my parish. Strong and capable people who became anxious and sometimes fearful because they no longer ‘knew where everything was’. And I can get to the edges of that myself in those moments when I can no longer easily remember – the slight stab of anxiety when the name doesn’t come to mind immediately.
And I shall ever remember the way in which people with dementia were ‘lit up’ by the presence of babies and small children – or of pets like cats and dogs