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  • Writer's pictureRobin Tthomson

‘The keepers of dignity and personhood’

‘Carers are the keepers of dignity and personhood for people living with dementia’.[1]

Ever since I read these words I have been reflecting on them. What a significant role!

But it can also be very demanding. In a recent global survey 54% of carers indicated they feel stressed “often” or “all the time,” in trying to cope with their caring responsibilities. Only 8% said “rarely” or “never.”[2]

I wrote four years ago about my personal experience of trying to care for my wife, Shoko.[3] Since then I have had the privilege of meeting many caregivers and I’m always amazed at their love, commitment and perseverance. I’ve realised more and more the need to support them.

Today there are many more resources than even five years ago. There’s a growing realisation of the need to change our understanding of caring – ‘Reimagining Care’, as the Archbishops’ Commission has proposed, or imagining a different ‘social care future’, and other initiatives. There are promising developments in research, though no cure. It’s still ‘care that can bridge the gap and provide hope’.[4]

And there’s still a long way to go. I have tried to focus on the contribution that churches can make. It's unique: they can offer relationships with continuity. And they can be communities of spiritual power.

We reflect on this each month in our dementia support group, and we have prepared a short course to help churches to support caregivers. You can find details in the previous post ‘Unique opportunity for churches’.

Let’s keep on acknowledging and supporting the caregivers.

[1]Zelda Freitas, page 266, World Alzheimer Report 2022, Alzheimer's Disease International, [2] page 72, World Alzheimer Report 2022, Alzheimer's Disease International [3] [4] page 413, World Alzheimer Report 2022, Alzheimer's Disease International

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