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Creating a Dementia Friendly Ministry

Posted on: Aug 06, 2020

Christian Horizons is committed to providing life-affirming memory care services that embrace evidence-based care practices and relationship centered care.

As part of this effort, associates learn the life-stories and social histories of residents with dementia and receive special training on communication and dementia related behavior. Pathway Memory Support Program activities are designed to celebrate music, time out of doors, life-long learning, exercise and spiritual connectedness. 

Spirituality and religious life are particularly important to the mission of Christian Horizons. As part of this focus on faith-based senior living and services, Christian Horizons is creating a program to become a “Dementia Friendly Ministry.” What does this look like? 

Being a leader in our communities – partnering with local non-profits, universities, and other non-profits to provide education about dementia and services for people living with dementia and their care partners. 

A commitment to fight stigma – not defining people by their illness. Education and conversation about dementia lowers stigma and increases access to services with a focus on quality of life.

The creation of a dementia friendly organization - where all staff associates receive training about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. Christian Horizons has just started piloting a two hour, interactive, onboarding training about dementia for newly hired associates. 

Offering spiritual care throughout the journey with dementia – learning and honoring residents’ religious and spiritual traditions to be sure that favorite music, Bible passages, spiritual readings, and hymns are available. Spirituality can also be defined as helping the person feel connected to nature, friends, family, and purposeful activities. 

The development of the Touch the Spirit activity program – a new program of activities related to spirituality and religion will be launched in Fall. 

Providing education and support to local faith communities - Programs will be launched including webinars and publications to provide added educational support and resources to local faith communities. 

Throughout the world there is a movement underway to create “dementia friendly communities.” This includes public education about dementia, greater access for people with dementia living in community, and added services. Christian Horizons is pleased to support this effort as a Dementia Friendly Ministry. Contact your local Christian Horizons community today and join the movement!

David Troxel, MPH, co-author of The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care and Consultant to Christian Horizons Pathway Memory Support Program

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