Spirituality in Late Dementia

10 Ways to Comfort Your Loved One

One means of connecting as communication grows ever more challenging: through religious or spiritual practices. Faith-based practices are sometimes mistakenly abandoned at this point in caregiving because it may seem that the person won't recognize them. Or they've been overlooked in the stress of managing health and behavioral issues. But spirituality can be of enormous comfort to your loved one and therefore a powerful caregiving tool for you.

What to try:

  1. Reading aloud from holy texts or other works of faith (Bible, Koran, etc.)

  2. Reciting prayers

  3. Asking a clergyperson to visit and pray

  4. Attending services (if physically still possible)

  5. Saying calming chants (which can also calm you!)

  6. Singing hymns

  7. Playing CDs of religious music

  8. Tuning into a televised religious service

  9. Walking (or being wheeled) around a labyrinth, church grounds, or park

  10. Reading poetry aloud

Even someone whose language skills and social responsiveness are declining can still hear. Any practices that brought comfort in the past can have the power to do the same now.


5 months ago, said...

Took my Mom to Mass every Sunday up til a month before she passed. She could sing all the songs and recite all the prayers but couldn't have a conversation any more. It brought her great joy to be in the church for the service. When she couldn't go anymore the priest came to her house. Keep your loved one engaged and as social for as long as you can-it brings them joy.


almost 2 years ago, said...

Had always included my wife in Nursing Home communal prayer sessions but it had to stop when she became confined to her bed. This article made me realise that there is no reason why I shouldn't continue in her room and I will now action. Many thanks for an article that showed me I was missing the obvious.


almost 2 years ago, said...

Very nice ideas. My mother is almost deaf now, but she would recognize the Morning Prayer Service if I read it with her and my dad. I usually go to visit with them and do the bookkeeping on the weekends at mid-day. Often we don't have anything to talk about but "business." Having a reading at home would give us something to do that's not controversial!


over 3 years ago, said...

we say the rosary and she begins to cry a lot more...sometimes....other times she is willlingly and wants to lead


almost 4 years ago, said...

Thank you for all these very valid sugestions ! The most valid one is to play music, he/she may not understand the words but the music is soothing.


over 4 years ago, said...

My mother is deaf. I would like practices that aren't reliant on the person's ability to hear. Thank you.


over 4 years ago, said...

Very interesting. I am involved in sabbath services in my wife's Nursing Home and this list suggests some useful ways in which the services could be made more meaningful as well as providing additional, complimentary ideas. Thank you. Thank you.


over 4 years ago, said...

the only activity in the nursing home that my husband will go to are prayer meeting s, he is a retire minister and cannot remember our life together but he can remember all the words to hymns. he also remembers verses from the bible. he is a wonderful witness to our staff here at penney farms,


almost 5 years ago, said...

Reading aloud from the Bible, even if my mother doesn't understand it will strike a cord in her memory and praying together, even if she goes to sleep. She goes to services in her nursing home regularly too which she enjoys.


almost 5 years ago, said...

I love this article. I work in private care. Many years ago I worked in an Special Care Unit and we had services in the main hall for the facility. Yes, Bible songs and services spark patients up. Thank you. Glorylove


over 5 years ago, said...

Reminded me of some other things i could do.


over 5 years ago, said...

I am a Stephen Minister and my care receiver has Alzheimer's. I would love to know how other lay care givers give feedback to their Supervision Group. I very much appreciate this website!!!


over 5 years ago, said...

We practive spiritual activities, and it is the one thing my afflicted spouse enjoys and is comforted by. I highly recommend music,, praying together even if he says nothing but is agreeing, and we still attend a church with an hour service (more than an hour is too much)


over 5 years ago, said...

if our Spiritual Faith would not give us the Strenght and comfort then there would be nothing to hope for. this life on this planet Earth is full of pain, tears and sickness yet our Faith offers us the Assurance that when we are called up to be with our Savior Jesus Christ we will have none of these things that plage us here. therefor our Spiritual hold is in the one that controls it all.He is our Hope and Expectation of a bright und gloriose Future with Him.


over 5 years ago, said...

I have with dementia patients for some years as a pastoral carer and find the suggestions helpful. I tgoes without saying that every person's dementia journey is unique and that each of the suggestions will apply in different ways. Peter McAlley