man holding his head in a blurry image to represent dementia-friendly High Holiday services for Yom Kippur

The Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program (Brown Program) is hosting a dementia-friendly High Holiday service 11 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, at Fleischman Residence/Blumberg Plaza, 6710 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield. A luncheon will follow the service. There is no fee to attend.

“Because many find solace through High Holiday services, we designed a special program to make it easier for individuals and families to observe Yom Kippur,” says Debra Yamstein, Brown Program director. “Often, families who are living with dementia can become isolated from their friends, co-workers and faith communities so this program provides an opportunity to remain connected to a faith community.”

The dementia-friendly service will be an intimate gathering where individuals will feel welcomed and not overwhelmed by large crowds or a long program. The abbreviated 45-minute service will focus on the most important prayers.

The service, named 2018 Program of the Year by the Association of Jewish Aging Services, also aims to help individuals with dementia tap into their memories as music and liturgy are usually among the last things to slip away.

“The memories of prayer, music and worship are settled deep in the brain and can serve as a trigger to bring someone into the present,” Yamstein says. “Although people with dementia may not remember what they ate for breakfast, they can still remember deep-rooted experiences of their youth. For many, that includes celebrating holidays. Therefore, the opportunity to pray and connect with God on Yom Kippur remains important.”

To register or for more information about the Yom Kippur service, call (248) 661-6390. Individuals are encouraged to pre-register with the understanding that last-minute challenges may prevent them from attending.

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