Saturday, April 24, 2010

Third Book Report--Could It Be Dementia?

So far this is the only Christian book on dementia I have found, and it is fairly new--copyright 2008. It was published in the UK where caregivers are called "carers". The authors, Louis Morse and Roger Hitchings, both work for Pilgrim Homes in England and are used to dealing with dementia patients. They write from a Christian perspective and answered questions for me.
  • Maybe we do need "Parish Nurses" to show how Christian do love each other(John 13:35). I am in the process of finding a support group or maybe starting one. "Looking after someone with dementia is not just time consuming--it is all-consuming. It drains your emotions, your energies and your finances." (p. 170)
  • Loneliness is painful for people with dementia. Okay! That's why my husband loves for me to sit by his side while he watches old movies that bore me. Conversation doesn't always make sense to him, but he loves to be with me, go on errands with me. (He used to not like to go shopping with me before the dementia set in.)  
  • I need to keep my husband as involved as is possible the authors suggest. I came home yesterday and he was preparing to mop the bathroom floors. I will let him finish that instead of doing it myself.
  • My husband swears now when he is frustrated and while this bothers me, I read "The swearing is not because of a suppressed sinful desire--it is the disease. . . .Part of the impact of that terrible illness is this aberrant behaviour, and he has no control over it. It is not that he doesn't want to control it--it is beyond him." (p. 142) Fortunately he doesn't swear at me, just other drivers, or situations that frustrate him.
  • "There needs to be less focus on their 'deficits', and more on their needs as human beings." (p.149) My husband is not a disease, but a wonderful human being with personality, likes and dislikes. The authors stress having photos and memorabilia around so that he is reminded of his likes and memories. He has photos of memories on his Facebook page and I am still trying to get him to respond to grandchildren who post on Facebook. I need to make his scrapbook soon!
  • "Caregiver syndrome can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and a compromised immune system." (p. 123) I need to take care of myself so I can take care of my husband. I guess I need a support system perhaps more than this blog.
  • He asks me repeatedly "How was your day?" and I repeatedly tell him. I am afraid to ask him how his day was because he won't remember. "People with dementia still need to know that they are loved. They want the same kind of reassurance you would give a child--or anyone for that matter--a hug and a reminder that God loves them too." We often tell each other that we love each other and show it in other ways.
  • "And sometimes, an individual who is not normally able to speak coherently will say the most beautiful Grace. One home manager said, 'Even when everything looks to the contrary, I am convinced that the Lord keeps His connection with us, through to the very end.'" (p. 118) Where once my husband initiated devotions and theological discussion, now I need to initiate Bible reading. Yep! He still prays wonderful prayers, as if he doesn't have dementia.


  1. Excellent observations! I enjoyed reading this post. It helps me to see how things are going in your household. I am glad this book answered some of the questions you have. Remembering to pray for you and hubby.

  2. My husband had symptoms of a heart attack, but it was only the flu. Meanwhile I am taking a break from blogging until sometime in June.