Traditional carols, mince pies and all the trimmings created a familiar and welcoming Christmas for those living with dementia and their carers at churches across the Wakefield Episcopal Area.
It is part of Bishop Tony’s mission to make Wakefield Episcopal Area dementia friendly and there have been Awareness Days and workshops for local churches over the last couple of years.
Bishop Tony is the Elderly Care Ambassador for the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Hospital, and is encouraging parishes across the area to respond to the needs of elderly people.
In Chapelthorpe, Wakefield, dementia friendly events and services is now a firm part of the ministry of the vicar there, the Revd Kevin Greaves, who set up his first dementia friendly church in his previous parish in the Castleford Team.
He hopes to introduce a regular monthly dementia friendly service in the new year and has just introduced a new event Sing-a-long For The Memory at St James’ Chapelthorpe, which last week featured popular Christmas favourites of yesteryear followed by refreshments.
Said Kevin: “We all like to sing-a-long to songs, Christians are a prime example of this as we gather to give praise and worship at church services, which usually includes the odd hymn or two. And songs transport us to when we first heard it, they invoke memories and emotions of that time.
“The sing-a-longs are for people who are living with dementia and also their carers to take them back to earlier days, as well as sharing fellowship and belting out a song or two.
“I actually thought that it wasn't well received until a carer came to me at the end and said that this was the most she had seen her mother engaged. Moving her lips to the words and tapping her feet to the music, ‘ he added.
The Sing-A-Long for the Memory will be a monthly event, on the first Thursday at 2pm. Next one on January 4 at Chapelthorpe St James.
In West Barnsley, St John’s Church, Hoylandswaine, Barnsley held its first dementia friendly Christmas Celebration in the village hall last year and followed this with other dementia friendly services at key times during the year and has just celebrated Christmas together.
Pictured left is Maureen and members of the team at St John's making paperchain decorations as they prepared for their first dementia friendly Christmas last year
The vicar, the Revd Maureen Browell said this was now a new strand of ministry in west Barnsley.