Dementia awareness raised at Cardinal Heenan House

By Father Stephen Beale

"During this week we remember especially the often forgotten pain of those suffering with dementia, and those who care for them." Bishop David McGough

To mark Dementia Prayer Week 2017, Father Stephen Beale led a dedicated activity day at Cardinal Heenan House, a care home offering specialised dementia care in Upholland. The event served both to raise funds for the Pastoral Care Project – a Christian organisation concerned with the spiritual needs of the frail elderly – and to promote prayer for and awareness of people living with dementia.

Staff, residents, families, volunteers, and young people representing local primary and secondary schools as well as the Lourdes Youth, were joined for the occasion by mayor of West Lancashire, Liz Savage.

Morning and afternoon sessions took place which, besides touching upon the theme of the day 'The Father's Love' by looking at scriptural and other quotations relating to life's journey, included input from several speakers. There were contributions from young people connected with Cardinal Heenan House; Dementia Friends Champions; and the recently bereaved. Participants also watched a video on suffering and loss, while the younger children followed a presentation on how the brain works and on caring for people living with dementia. A day notable for its friendly, welcoming and calm spirit concluded with Mass for the residents.

According to one of the younger participants, "It was a unique experience which taught me a lot, not only about people living with dementia but about the reality of living with a relative with dementia or losing a relative to dementia. Being able to communicate with the residents not only through talking to them but though music was amazing. I met some incredible people in the residents and the guest speakers. There is more to a person that their dementia."