Faith in the time of a pandemic

Engaging with faith for people living with dementia: practising religious festivities and traditions in a pandemic

The current pandemic is presenting special challenges for people living with dementia and their carers who participate in the celebration of religious life. The ability for people to physically come together and share in their religious beliefs has been taken away.

Faith related activities can help those living with dementia to promote a sense of belonging and support their spiritual life. This helpsheet provides some suggestions to stay connected spiritually in the weeks and months ahead.

Tips to continue engaging with faith and religious celebrations

  • Use simple devotional practices such as creating a safe and quiet area for prayer, allowing time for rest and reflection.
  • Recite key passages to acknowledge religious tradition.
  • Offer the joy of music through listening to choirs and hymns.
  • Encourage participation in your faith community through radio, television and the internet, such as YouTube or Facebook.
  • Watch a religious movie on TV.
  • Read Easter stories aloud with pictures and large text to encourage and engage participation. Consider using a holding symbol such as a wooden holding cross for connection and engagement
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends over the phone or online. Share stories and photos from previous celebrations to keep connected

Given the pandemic, many religious organisations have services and ceremonies available online.