Every institution in town has members affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
At Saugatuck Congregational Church, folks noticed that long-time worshipers were not attending as often as they used to.
Church officials wondered why. They learned that withdrawing is very common in families with dementia. They learned too that very few faith communities are “dementia-friendly.”
To combat that withdrawal — and the accompanying feeling of abandonment — Saugatuck Church has created a special service.
“God in the Now: Community Worship to Support Individuals and Families Affected by Memory Loss” is set for Sunday, March 13 (3 p.m.). Non-church members are warmly invited to attend.
By focusing on familiar hymns and prayers deeply ingrained in churchgoers’ memories, the service will encourage maximum participation from all. More and shorter elements in the service will facilitate as much focus as possible. Of course, the sanctuary is wheelchair accessible.
The service is organized with the help of church members who have experienced these issues in their own families. The Alzheimer’s Association, Senior Center and others with experience in care-giving are also involved.
After the worship, a reception in Hoskins Hall will include information and resources, provided by the Alzheimer’s Association.
This type of service is quite rare in the US. Church officials believe this is the first time such an event is offered in Westport.
In conjunction with the service, the Westport Senior Center will screen the film “Still Alice” this Thursday (March 10, 4:30 p.m.). The movie is about a linguistics professor and her family, as they cope with her early-onset Alzheimer’s.