Saturday, September 16, 2017



One of the sad things to observe is when a person you have known very well over the years begins to slide into forgetfulness and the confusion that accompanies it. For them personally, there is a measure of consternation (the feeling of anxiety and dismay). I visited a widow in the local Nursing Home whose husband had been a long-time Pastor in another town. She would have moments when she would stop in mid-sentence and forget where she was –or – not able to complete the thought. She tried to explain to me how her mind had become like a gear that had lost a tooth or two and would not mesh and work like it should. Since I had known her and her husband for a few years, I assured her that together we would piece together what she was trying to remember.

Another minister and I had done combined services from time to time. His wife was beginning to fail mentally and not able to fully express herself. When the Ministers assembled where the congregation would be exiting, she came by and said to me: “I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.” I replied: “Just stand here between your husband and me and you will be fine.” She managed to smile and seemed so relieved to know where she belonged and felt safe.

A Scripture passage that is referencing how the Body of Christ should show a readiness to “accept one another.” I see an application for those whose minds are failing, where they are drifting toward dementia and possible Alzheimer’s. Romans 15:1-2, “We who are strong ought to bear with the shortcomings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” This will involve a sensitivity toward those who often repeat themselves, as well as being unable to remember names, dates and places. It will also require patience as one slides through these various stages. Another verse that makes me think of a way through this wilderness journey is Psalm 22:19 (ERV), “But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid.”

One of the encouraging acts that the Biblical Church can do is to always include the person who is enduring the trial of memory loss. In actuality, it is more frustrating for them than it would be for you. If the person repeats something that had just been said, don’t point it out or make a correction. This, too, is a frustration for the person. As an act of kindness, as has been pointed out in previous Blogs, help the person thorough the rough places. Remind them of what your name is or where the next activity is taking place. A simple: “Let’s walk together to the next destination.” Some things that could be done in the past may not work as well in the present. Don’t call on the person to lead in prayer or to quote some Bible verse or story they have shared previously. Be kind, considerate and helpful. It will mean a lot.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

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