Christian charity Pilgrims’ Friend Society are encouraging the UK Church to pray for older people during their annual Prayer Week (13th – 19th June). With warnings of a fundamental crisis within the social care sector — alongside an increasing ageing population over the next decade — the charity is responding by bringing together Christian charities and experts to practically equip Christians and churches to be part of the solution.
From 14th– 16th June, Pilgrims’ Friend Society will host three evening sessions online linking to their campaign Friendship Is Ageless. They will explore how building connections across the generations can help older people understand their purpose in later life, how to get alongside those living with dementia, and how to alleviate loneliness in older people. The events give insight into the experience of growing older, as well as providing practical advice on caring for older relatives, loved ones, and those in the wider community.
Pilgrims’ Friend Society CEO Stephen Hammersley says,
It has never been more important for churches and Christians to be equipped to live alongside the older people in their midst; to be able to recognise the qualities and contributions they bring and have the knowledge to build friendship in the face of challenges such as dementia. This is an area of expertise we have been building up as a charity. We have seen the positive impact of socialisation and preventative care and are excited to share this with the wider Christian community.
The events include expert contributors such as Rev. Roger Hitchings, who has spent 50 years working with older people as part of his full-time ministry and Age UK;Louise Morse, a cognitive Behavioural Therapist, author, speaker, and specialist in Dementia Care; Tina English, director of Embracing Age and a trained nurse specialising in care of older people; Professor Keith Brown, an author and a leading expert in his field of social work and author and; Jamie Hill, CEO of Faith in Later Life with a network of more than 500 church champions for older people across the country; Debs Fidler, a church community worker in Greater Manchester who is studying for a BA in Third Age Mission and Ministry and also coordinates an inter-church befriending service
The three events include:
- Friendships in Later Life: Tuesday 14th June,
Rev Roger Hitchings will look at how friendships can help older people understand their purpose in later life and what the Bible says about remaining purposeful in our later years.
- Friendships and Dementia: Wednesday 15th June.
Louise more will highlight some of the key challenges for building relationships in the context of dementia and Tina English from Embracing Age will share practical tips on befriending people living with dementia.
- Friendships and Loneliness: Thursday 16th June
Professor Keith Brown will outline the problems that loneliness can cause older people and Jamie Hill will help us look at ways of building connections in our communities.
All events will be held on Zoom and will start at 7:30pm, finishing at 8:30pm.
To find out more follow @PilgrimsFS on social media and visit pilgrimsfriend.org.uk/events
Friendship Is Ageless is Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s campaign encouraging people of different generations to connect. To find out more and for some top tips on how to connect, visit www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk/friendship
Written by: Megan Hills