|“How well, or not so well, do churches receive people with dementia, and their carers?”|
Dementia is a subject Revd Derek Oldham is very keen to investigate more. He is eager to discover what Trinity and other churches can do to help people with dementia and their carers. It seems that as Government funding continues to decrease and local facilities are hit by these ongoing cuts, the church perhaps has the resources needed to help, especially with its buildings and people.
Revd. Derek's interest in dementia was sparked in early 2007 when his mother was admitted into hospital at the age of 87, with what was initially diagnosed as a UTI (urinary tract infection); the diagnosis was later escalated to dementia. It very quickly became apparent that she needed more full-time care than the family were able to offer, so the incredibly difficult decision was made to find a care home which could cater for her needs. She deteriorated very quickly and died in August of the year she was diagnosed.
Then, in Revd Derek's second appointment as Presbyter, one of the Supernumerary ministers telephoned one morning at 11.00, asking him to go to his home immediately as he needed help in finding his “missing wallet". When Derek arrived soon after, the man opened the door wearing just his underwear, with the greeting “I can’t find my clothes”. Derek soon discovered that the man had been covering up his wife’s dementia for at least a couple of years but his own dementia had manifested very suddenly and they were both in a state of utter distress.
During his sabbatical, Revd Derek published a blog. It is available now as a free-standing document.