Special Service Offered For Churchgoers Affected By Alzheimer’s

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.

Saugatuck Congregational Church will open its doors to all who suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia, and their families and friends.

Saugatuck Congregational Church will open its doors to all who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and their families and friends.

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.

2 responses to “Special Service Offered For Churchgoers Affected By Alzheimer’s

  1. I’d suppose transportation is another issue. Does the church send around a van to pick up folks for Sunday services?

  2. Jill Turner Odice

    My Mom , Julie Turner, has Alzheimer’s. Ted Hoskins from the Saugatuck Congregational Church helped her become a client of The Jarvie Foundation back in 2003. It is a wonderful organization which has helped my Mom out through her illness. They found her a place at The Greens of Cannondale for assisted living. When she progressed to Dementia, they moved her to the Evergreen program which has specifically trained care givers for Alzheimer’s patients. They have given my Mom wonderful care for the last 13 years as she has progressed in her illness. The Jarvie Foundation pays for all her expenses there which is a godsend for us. It is a very tough thing to not be able to even talk to my Mom for the last 5 years , once she got to the point of not really knowing us.We got the call yesterday morning that my Mom was non responsive and they had taken her to the hospital. She probably will not last through the day. My Brothers and I really appreciate everything the Saugatuck Congregational Church, Jarvie Foundation and Wilton Meadows/The Greens at Cannondale have done to make sure my Mom had the best possible care and life for the last 13 years. They are true Angels.