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Living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

19/10/2011

The Alzheimer Patient

One of the real privileges of Christian Ministry is to be able to spend some time with people who are in hospital. Most people appreciate this work, even if their church connection is a little tenuous, and it can bring comfort and help to folk at a time when they are full of anxiety and their spirits are often very low.

It was in that context that I recently visited a lady who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. I found her a little agitated and a bit stressed. Not being aware of her condition, or where she was, or who it was that spoke to her, she was, of course, very uncommunicative. Now, on these hospital visits, even when I think the patient won’t hear or understand, I always make it a priority to read to them a passage from the Bible and to offer prayer. For this lady, I chose a passage from the psalms:-

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

To my great surprise, I realised that the lady I was reading to, was actually saying the words along with me! A woman who couldn’t recognise her own loved ones, and who lived in a wee world of her own, was still able to recite a Scripture passage!

As I left the ward I wondered… Had she learned that passage from a faithful Sunday School teacher, or perhaps at her mother’s knee? Had she turned to that psalm throughout her life, when she needed to remind herself that she could always rely the Lord for help?

As I thought over the incident later, I realised that I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. The woman I was visiting not only knew the book, she knew the author. Long before the onset of the distressing symptoms which she was presently suffering, that lady had entered into a personal relationship with God, through simple, saving faith in His dear Son Jesus, and had long known that God would always be with her, even through times of illness. He’d made her a promise. He’d said,

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

And now, when she could no longer understand or make sense of her world, – when she could no longer comprehend biblical concepts or theological terminology, Jesus was still with her,- still comforting her, still wrapping his loving arms around her, and His word was implanted deep within her heart and her mind.

From → Encouragement

3 Comments
  1. Thanks for your comments folks, they are much appreciated.

    Bob

  2. I saw the same thing with my dad. He had Lewy Body Disease which is very similar to Alzheimer’s.

  3. Great post Bob. What a privilege it is to bring God’s Word into situations like the one you describe here, and how wonderful to see that Word minister comfort into the confusion and stress of Alzheimer’s. Your paragraph just before ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ is so well phrased:

    “The woman I was visiting not only knew the book, she knew the author.”

    Amen!

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