Health and Salvation week at Boarbank, 8th - 13th Jan 2018

Theme - Dignity, dependency & dementia

Health & Salvation 2018

Health & Salvation 2018

This year’s theme was a topical one.The speakers brought a wide range of practical expertise of supporting the lives of older people, especially those with dementia of various types and degrees.

 Margaret Hinton Health & Salvation 2018 
 Carol Burns and Sr Margaret  Sara Jones

Margaret Hinton, Marriage & Family Life Coordinator for the Wrexham Diocese, gave a very helpful explanation of what dementia is and how to assist those affected, enlisting us all as ‘Dementia Friends’ in the process. CLICK HERE for a link to their website

She then spoke about the work in making Wrexham and its parishes as dementia-friendly as possible.

Carol Burns came from Leeds, where she chairs MAECare, which provides a huge range of activities and other support for the over-60s in the Moor Allerton district. She explained how those with dementia can be integrated, often very fully, into these activities and the life of the local community. CLICK HERE for a link to their website

Sara Jones spoke about her work with the Namaste Project for those with advance dementia. CLICK HERE for more information about Sara and the Namaste project.

This offers a safe and pleasant space for people to enjoy the stimulation of all their senses, in a way that can have dramatically positive results, on carers and homes as well as on individuals.


Pippa Bonner Health & Salvation 2018
Michael Wee & Karen Groves Michael & the Sisters


Pippa Bonner spoke about old age and spirituality, giving moving anecdotes from her work in a residential community, which includes many religious Sisters, and reflecting on the theology and spirituality of this. CLICK HERE for access to the online resources 'Growing Old Gracefully'

All of these speakers provided very useful practical advice and resources for supporting and transforming the lives of those living with dementia. A recurrent theme was that, with the right kind of loving support, people can carry on living good and often very fulfilled lives, even when some of their mental capacities become unreliable or weak. 

Theological and philosophical reflection on the theme was provided by Michael Wee, Education Officer of the Anscombe Centre.

Michael explored the idea of dignity, distinguishing between intrinsic dignity, which we all possess, attributed dignity, which is bestowed on us by other, and efflorescent dignity, the dignity that flowers in us when we live good lives. He argued that the reason we ought to attribute dignity to each person, as the Royal College of Nursing definition makes clear, is precisely that we have intrinsic dignity in the first place. He then looked at the implications of this for those with dementia.

Sr Margaret teaching

Sr Margaret concluded the events with a slide show on the way in which ideas of human independence and dependence have been reflected in the history of art. When philosophy and theology value the vulnerable, this is depicted, for instance in images of the crucifixion.

By contrast, much eighteenth century art, influenced by the values of the Enlightenment, focuses on the wealthy, powerful and independent. Insofar as these ideas shapes our values, we will find it difficult today properly to value those who have lost their independence. Christian teaching, along with Christian art, offers a way forward.


Health & Salvation 2018 Michael gives us a tune!
Nirmala concentrates on the jigsaw John makes a point..


It was lovely to welcome new members to the group this year, as well as several of our Sisters and staff. They settled in very quickly, whether to conversations and drinks round the fire, helping with the Christmas jigsaw, or playing the piano superbly for an impromptu hymn-singing session (thank you, Michael!). New participants were taken by Sr Eileen around our Nursing Home.

start stop bwd fwd

Several of us enjoyed a super walk along the shore of Lake Windermere on the free day. Other activities included John’s slide show of his and Karen’s flight over the lakes with Fr Chris, the very moving film Notes on Blindness, and the regular final social evening and buffet with the Sisters. One very notable absence was Sr Agatha, who had had the idea of the theme in the first place. We wish her a full recovery and a happy return next year! 

 Pilot Fr Chris Aerial view of Boarbank Hall 

As usual, the group shared Mass and the prayer of the Church, sometimes by themselves and sometimes with the Sisters. The final Mass, with the Community and residents, was a Mass of Healing, with the sacrament for the sick. Many thanks to Fr David for his liturgical support.

 Jess & Sue  Our chaplain Fr David

Next year’s course will be on the theme of Communication, and will be held from 7th-12th January 2019.