Dementia-friendly worship service: All Saints Day

I’ll let you in on a secret: I really love this nondenominational worship service that celebrates All Saints Day (Nov. 1). There’s something wonderful about remembering and honoring the people of faith who loved us well in this life and who, I believe, now pray for us from heaven.

As always, this 48-minute video church service is suitable for older adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It includes well-known hymns, appropriate quotes and prayers, and interactive questions.

History of All Saints Day

I’m fascinated by the historical link between Halloween and All Saints Day. More than 2,000 years ago, the Celts celebrated a harvest festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-INN). At this time, it was believed that the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest, allowing the spirits of the departed to mingle more freely with this world.

According to, by the 9th century, Christianity’s influence blended with Celtic rites, including Samhain. “In 1000 A.D., the church established All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse, meaning All Saints’ Day). [The] night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.”

In Latin American, this between-worlds celebration is called Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and features awesome decorations.

A Teaching Moment

A few years ago, the week after I had offered this service at one of my eldercare communities, Esther, one of the residents, caught my sleeve.

“I want to talk to you!” (Uh-oh, I thought, I hope I’m not in trouble.)

“Last week,” she said, “you taught me something different than what I’ve always been taught.” (Uh-oh, I thought again). “I had always been taught that Halloween was the devil’s holiday! And then you taught that at one time it was actually something nice! That was really interesting and good for me!”

(See why I love doing what I do?)

I hope you, too, enjoy this 48-minute service that honors those who have gone before us in faith, hope, and love.

Watch the dementia-friendly All Saints Day service here.

P.S. If you or one of your elders would like to visit with me by phone, FaceTime, or other method, please contact me!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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