Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dementia and Alzheimers

I once spoke to a group of about three hundred people. They all wore name tags. Many knew each other already, but in case they forgot someone's moniker, a tag attached to a shoulder was a good reminder.

None of them knew me.

I began the introduction to my speech and used the label designations as an attention getter.  I said something like this.

"Names are often difficult to remember so I'm pleased we are all easily identified. If I forget your name, I can read it and  my problem is solved.

"What if we couldn't remember our own name?  What if we couldn't recall friends or family? Or how about the nightmare of forgetting who God is?

"There may come a time when our memories fail us, but God's mind never collapses. He never forgets who we are. A disease may make us unable to think of Him, but He always knows us.

"Now here's an interesting part. God chooses to forget the sin and awful deeds we've done, but forever remembers us, the person. Our names are so important to Him that He records them in His Book of Life when we become His family."

I saw a post on Facebook from Dr. Michelle Bengtson, Neuropsychologist. Here's her quote. I don't know if it is original with her or not, but it is a good one.

Satan knows your name but he calls you be your sin.
 God knows you sin but He calls you by your name.

Isn't that amazing? He never gets confused or fearful, but we do, especially if we fight illness.

People with dementia or Alzheimer's often feel disoriented. They become angry because they can't remember normal their name. Many won't be able to meditate on the Holy One, but He will think of them.

Patience. Love. Respect.
These are qualities a sufferer with these diseases need. Some are difficult to give. Patience is not one of my virtues but I'm trying to cultivate it. At the time I gave the speech, our daughter was healthy. She now experiences early onset dementia and requires patience.

Let's also remind ourselves and the ill loved one that God always knows them and hasn't forgotten them. We can't explain why disease and hard times came their way...or ours. Only God knows why. Our choice is to remain faithful to Him and the person who hurts.

Before I forget this important reminder.
Have you read the latest Sarah book?

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