The Rotorua community, including those with dementia, are encouraged to come together and celebrate the festive season singing a selection of carols.

On Sunday a Dementia-friendly Carol Service is being held at Salvation Army Church, corner of Amohia and Pukuatua Sts.

This is an annual inter-church event and everyone in the community is invited to join together and sing a selection of carols.

The dementia-friendly service is just like any other Christmas carol service, except it provides an environment where dementia patients and their caregivers feel welcome.


There will be a variety of mostly traditional Christmas carols with a sprinkling of more contemporary songs.

Salvation Army corps officer Ralph Overbye thinks dementia sufferers can sometimes feel excluded.

"We want to be inclusive - for everyone to feel that they can belong in church. The advent of Jesus is one of the most significant events in history and this carol service is a good way for anyone, especially the older generations, to reminisce and reflect on this wonderful truth.

"Music and song has a wonderful way of reminding us of cherished memories. Those who suffer from dementia often find that they are able to remember and reconnect with music when other memories have faded."

He says the best part of this event for him is seeing the joy on the faces of those who participate in the shared celebration and fellowship.

Band leader Rex Rees says he enjoys the fact they are sharing Christmas and the story of Christmas.

"I enjoy taking part in this because it's a combined effort."

He encourages people to go along and celebrate Christmas and sing some of the traditional carols, such as Silent Night and Hark The Herald Angels Sing.


"It's a great time to share and an opportunity of course for the community to come and share with us."

The details
■ What: Dementia-friendly Carol Service
■ When: Sunday, December 8, 2.30pm
■ Where: Salvation Army Church, corner of Amohia and Pukuatua Sts
■ Free