Ten Simple Ways Churches Can Support People Living with Dementia and Their Families

For most people, living with Dementia can have a huge emotional, psychological, and practical impact on a person. Many people living with the condition feel a sense of loss regarding normal social interactions and relationships, in addition to the challenge of adjusting to a new way of life. The aim of this blog post is to help equip people living with Dementia, their families, and carers to find the advice and support they need to live a good life.

Old people holding hands1. Treat the person with respect and dignity

Be positive and encouraging; make the individual feel included and valued.

2. Be a Good Listener

It is important to be a good listener to the person and their family. Often, people just need a chance to share what they are experiencing, their fears, and their feelings. Someone with Dementia may need more time to answer questions or say what they mean to say.

3. Communicate Well

Do your best to be clear and calm. Ask questions clearly and simply to convey warmth and understanding. Even if you don’t understand what is being said, try not to get irritated or stressed.

4. Remember the Little Things

Show that you care and they count. Don’t avoid or exclude the person with Dementia, but reassure, encourage, and include them.

Caring for carers5. Stay in Touch

Hearing from someone briefly, even if it’s just a five minute phonecall, helps a person with Dementia and their family to feel less isolated or less like they have been forgotten. So, do your best to stay in touch because it can make all the difference!

6. Offer Practical Help

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference for someone living with Dementia. Supporting the person with independence by offering practical help in the form of transport, housework, shopping, gardening, or chores is often greatly appreciated. Try to offer help with practical tasks but in a sensitive way (maybe asking to undertake a task jointly with them so they aren’t made to feel incapable).

7. Organise a Treat

We are all different and so organising a treat is something very person-specific. Some treats do not need to cost a lot or even take up a lot of your time; for example: bringing around afternoon tea, flowers, or a nice meal. Try to think of some way you could brighten up their day with something special.

8. Help Family Members

Supporting those living with and caring for the person with Dementia is just as important as caring for the individual themselves. Often, family members need practical help, emotional support, and regular breaks from being a carer. So, do what you can to offer support to family members in ways that bless them.

Old people sitting on a bench9. Find Out More About Dementia

Much of the fear around this condition is due to a lack of understanding of it, how it affects people, and how it might alter behaviours. So, the most helpful thing you can do is educate yourself by finding out more about Dementia. Equipping yourself with all the information is a great way to get rid of the fear that surrounds this condition and take control of your response to it.

10. Help People Get Help and Support

There are many different services, helplines, and support groups to help people with Dementia and their families. Whilst health services may be able to help with diagnosis and medication, the majority of support and ongoing help comes from community groups, services, and voluntary organisations.

We hope you have found this advice helpful and we pray it equips you with the support and guidance you need to support another person with dementia in the best way possible.


(Based on Alzheimer’s society 2014)

© Professor Keith Brown excerpt from ‘Guidance for Christian Faith Organisations in the Support and Value of Older People’ – become a church champion to receive a free copy of the full guidance booklet over email