Personal Perspective of the Mosaic of Living with Dementia

Authors

  • Christine Bryden Charles Sturt University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.34568

Keywords:

Dementia, personal perspective, spirituality, ministry, chaplains

Abstract

This article is based on a keynote presentation given to the national Spiritual Care Australia Conference in 2017, which had the theme “Engaging a Mosaic of Care”. As a person diagnosed with dementia, it gives a viewpoint from within the confusing mosaic of living with dementia, in which a sense of spirituality at the core of our being can prompt a search for ultimate meaning in life, through relationships with God and with others. This article is a Christian theological reflection, from the unique perspective of the lived experience. Spirituality does not need cognition or language, and the person can be ministered to with sensitivity. Each person with dementia is a unique individual with hopes, dreams and emotions, even if these cannot be expressed, and has been on a journey from diagnosis towards an increasingly confusing mosaic of sights, sounds and feelings. Chaplains can be our faithful companions on this journey of decline and despair.

Author Biography

Christine Bryden, Charles Sturt University

Christine Bryden is Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University, Barton, Australia. She has dementia and is an author and dementia advocate.

References

Ames, S. (2016) “What Happens to the Person With Dementia?” Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging 28: 118–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528030.2015.1046634

Bryden, C. (2005) Dancing With Dementia. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

—(2012) Who Will I Be When I Die? London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

—(2015) Nothing About Us, Without Us. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

—(2016) “A spiritual Journey Into the I-Thou Relationship: A Personal Reflection on Living with Dementia”. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging 28: 1–2, 7–14.

Creamer, D. B. (2012) “Disability Theology!” Religion Compass 6/7: 339–46. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2012.00366.x

Goldsmith, M. (2004) In a Strange Land … People with Dementia and the Local Church. Nottingham: 4M Publications.

—(2002) “Through A Glass Darkly, A Dialogue Between Dementia and Faith”. Journal of Religious Gerontology 12(3-4): 123–38. https://doi.org/10.1300/J078v12n03_10

MacKinlay, E. (2011) “Walking With a Person into Dementia: Creating Care Together”. In Spirituality and Personhood in Dementia, ed. A. Jewell. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

MacKinlay, E., and C. Trevitt (2012) Finding Meaning in the Experience of Dementia: The Place of Spiritual Reminiscence Work. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

—(2015) Facilitating Spiritual Reminiscence for People with Dementia: A Learning Guide. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Post, S. (2000) The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying (2nd edn). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

—(2006) “Respectare: Moral Respect for the Lives of the Deeply Forgetful”. In Dementia. Mind, Meaning and Person, ed. J. C. Hughes, S. J. Louw and S. R. Sabat, 223–34. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sabat, S. (2018) Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: What Everyone Needs To Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sabat, S., A. Johnson, C. Swarbrick and J. Keady (2011) “The ‘Demented Other’ or Simply a ‘Person’? Extending the Philosophical Discourse of Naue and Kroll through the Situated Self”. Nursing Philosophy 12(4): 282–92. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-769X.2011.00485.x

Swinton, J. (2012) Dementia: Living in the Memories of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Tillich, P. (1969) The Courage to Be. London: Collins.

Published

2019-01-19

How to Cite

Bryden, C. (2019). Personal Perspective of the Mosaic of Living with Dementia. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 6(2), 186-199. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.34568

Issue

Section

Mental Health