What Kind Of Bible Passages Work Best
I tend to stick to the New Testament, especially the Gospels and some of St. Pauls instructions to the early churches, which brim with practical encouragements on how to treat people and how to cling to God. Many of the Psalms also;work beautifully, with deep truths expressed in heartfelt;language.
I dont suggest tackling anything thats super confusing, scary, or harsh. Dont get me wrong: My groups have often discussed suffering, hardship, and guilt, because these are universal experiences. But for people with dementia, I think its important to focus on Gods comfort, forgiveness, and promises of love and eternal presence.
What Does The Bible Say About Alzheimers Disease
We have to place trust and hope in our Heavenly Father.
The Bible presents growing old as a normal process, but what about the realities of the aging process that so many adults face today, including dementia and Alzheimers disease? Among the most troubling aspects of growing old is the frequency of senile dementia as human life span increases.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, one in ten people age 65 and older have Alzheimers disease and about one-third of people age 85 and older have Alzheimers disease. It seems eminently unfair that people so afflicted should be robbed of their intellectual, emotional and social vitality while their physical bodies continue to survive. Alzheimers disease is a particularly hard pill to swallow because the cause is unknown and it does not seem to be related to any particularly bad health habits. While progression of Alzheimers can be stalled, in part, but continued active involvement in mind-stimulating and physical activity, progression of the disease is nevertheless inexorable.
We all know someone, or of someone who is mentally degenerating. Also, we all know of one or more families who are facing years of long-term debilitating care for a loved one who is losing his or her mind. The only passage in the Bible that has to do directly with dementia is found in Ecclesiastes 12:1-8:
Facing The Fear Of Dementia
Dementia strikes without regard for physical health or prior intelligence. This apparent randomness often creates fear and anxiety, and may cause friends and family to pull away from the affected individual.
Some studies say people fear Alzheimers, which makes up 70 percent of cases of dementia, more than cancer and even death, says Dr. John Dunlop, a physician specializing in geriatrics and author of Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia.
Sarah Smith shares the heartbreaking story of navigating her mothers journey with Early-Onset Alzheimers disease.
Yet Christ calls believers not to fear, but to love boldly. Scripture tells us that His heart is toward the hurting and most vulnerable among us. As those created in His image, we have a responsibility to honor one another and to care for others as Jesus cares for us.
We begin by recognizing how hard it can be to show signs of aging in a culture that prizes those with sharp minds, beauty and youth. Independence is a virtue; dependence is looked down upon. When a life-altering illness strikes, the afflicted are often moved to the margins of everyday life hidden away in hospitals, care facilities or homes. Whats more, they are typically surrounded by doctors, nurses, techs and other virtual strangers.
More articles on dementia and elder care:
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It Will Be Worth It All
One day these trials will be over and we can say it was worth it all.; When we see the face of Jesus and hear Him say Well done, thou good and faithful servant, then we will know that our labor was not in vain.; You can get your own copy of this devotional right here and why not take each of these verses and hide them in your heart as you face each and every trial that the Lord allows you to go through.;
Thanks to Moody Publishers for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
This post may contain affiliate links to products I use and products I would recommend.
I have printed the above 20 verses in pdf form.; You can get immediate access to your own copy by filling out the information below.; I hope they will be a great encouragement to you in your walk with the Lord.
This Is Just What I Needed
Despite any limitations resulting from their dementia, the memory care residents who attend the Bible study group are not shy about expressing what their participation means to them. A typical comment I hear is, This is just what I needed tonight! Dan says. He can understand how his group members feel, he adds. There are some nights where Ive had a long day and I think, Where will I find the energy to lead the group tonight? But he has always found the residents inspiring and his fatigue falling away. It energizes me, Dan says. It is so rewarding.
Verses Commanding Care For Others
Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me. Matthew 25:34-36
Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. James 5:14-15
Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves call out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13
Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:4
Dealing With Mental Illness
How are Christians to respond to such a convoluted issue? If were honest, we can struggle to know how to appropriately and compassionately respond to someone dealing with this issue. When we insensitively declare mental illness to be only a spiritual issue, we immediately isolate those who are struggling with this. By doing this we unconsciously direct others to a prosperity gospel type of solution, which says, just have enough faith.Keep praying. Even worse, we go so far as to accuse someone of living in unrepentant sin.
We often overlook what the Scriptures teach us. We are body and soul. For someone who is struggling with a mental illness, this means not only are there spiritual solutions to issues, there are also physical solutions. We dont have to be afraid of taking advantage of what God has given us. As we look to Christ as the Ultimate Healer we can take advantage of Christian mental health professionals and counselors and the help that they provide.
The most loving thing that we can do to a person struggling with a mental illness is to honor them enough to acknowledge their struggles. We should love them enough to listen and fight to connect with them. There is freedom in knowing that we cant fully understand each others stories, but in Gospel community we find a way to connect.
10. Proverbs 13:10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.
Christian Quotes On Mental Health
When God has already defined you as His and purposed by Him, no mental illness can change that. Brittany Moses
Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say My tooth is aching than to say My heart is broken. C.S. Lewis
When you cannot see the future and not knowing the outcome gives you anxiety, focus on the One who has gone before you. He knows the plans He has for you. Brittany Moses
Even as a Christian, youll have good days and youll have bad days but youll never have a day without God.
When it feels like youre empty and hurting alone know God is present in this space with you. And as you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. He sees what no one sees, He hears what isnt said but is cried out by the heart and He will restore you.
I find myself frequently depressed perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions. Charles Spurgeon
Verses On Human Dignity
Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with complete purity. 1 Timothy 5:1-2
No one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church. Ephesians 5:29
Do not cast me aside in my old age; as my strength fails, do not forsake me. Psalm 71:9
Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys Gods temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
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Geriatrics Experts Say Brit Humes Claim That Joe Biden Is Senile Is Wrong
If Your Time is short
Senility is not a precise medical term, but is often used in place of the more precise and accepted medical term of dementia.;
Experts said Biden does not exhibit signs of dementia. Dementia is defined as cognitive decline that is severe enough to cause someone to lose the ability to function independently in daily life.
A persistent Republican line of attack against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is the allegation that he is not mentally fit to lead the nation. President Donald Trump amplifies that claim at his rallies and so do pundits on Fox News.
On the night of the Sept. 29 presidential debate in Cleveland, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said on TV that despite Trumps claims about Bidens health, Biden might do okay at the debate, since Biden “did just fine” when he debated Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during the Democratic primary. Hume then called Biden “senile.”
“Elderly people experiencing memory loss and other problems associated with age can go for periods, for hours at a time and be just fine,” Hume said before the debate. “I dont think theres; any doubt Bidens senile, but that doesnt mean its going to show up tonight. … And now that the expectations for him have been set so low, you know if he comes out and doesnt drool and gets through everything pretty well it could end up being quite a boost for him.”
Carlson had a different take the next night.
Secular Understanding And Treatment Of Dementia
The secular term for dementia in the DSM-5 is neurocognitive disorder that progressively worsens. It is specified by severity. A person with a mild case needs help with some activities of daily living, such as housework. A person with a moderate case needs help with basics like dressing and eating. A person with a severe case is fully dependent on others for almost everything.
Consider Hank. At age 66, he took a job as a greeter at a big box store. He was a retired accountant and a smart guy. When he started as a greeter, he memorized the locations of many of the items in the store so he could direct customers. But nearly a year into the job, his memory noticeably slipped. His solution? To write information in a small notebook to help him remember things. But then he began forgetting to shave and to get to work on time.
His daughter brought him to a doctor for an evaluation of his cognitive ability. Using the Medical Model, the doctor ordered tests including a blood workup and an MRI, and they ruled out illnesses and conditions other than what his daughter feared most: major neurocognitive disorder due to possible Alzheimers disease. In the Medical Model, a doctor might prescribe an antidepressant for his mild depression and recommend ongoing care in a nursing home.
How To Progress Through A Bible Passage
These Bible studies are designed to go verse by verse, sometimes almost word by word, to avoid tackling too big of a chunk of text. If any of your participants are able to read, ask them to read aloud; be prepared to stop them at the point where you want to start discussing .
For many passages, Ive included a bit of background information, for two reasons:
As;you go through the study questions, feel free to repeat the verse just;before asking;the question:
- The priest passed by on the other side of the road. So what did the priest do? Why do you think he did that?
But dont be too quick to answer questions yourself; remember, this time is about interacting on a personal level, not didactic teaching.
- You know, thank you for those thoughts, John, and Im wondering who else has a thought about what a shepherd is like? What does a shepherd actually do?
For These Residents With Dementia The Bible Breaks Through
Maybe its ironicor maybe its fittingbut its kind of amazing how many memorable things can happen in a memory care community, where residents are experiencing Alzheimers or other forms of dementia. Dan Hass can testify to that. Dan, who served as executive director of Overlook Green Senior Living, a Five Star assisted living and memory care community in Pittsburgh, PA, saw it happen time and time again in a weekly Bible study group he ran for Overlook Green residents.
There was the one night he handed his Bible to a resident, an elderly gentleman. The man, who happened to be a former pastor, had advanced dementia, a condition that had left him unable to speak coherently. Prior to that night, no one had heard this kindly resident utter a single sentence.
The man opened the Good Bookand began to read. The Lord is my shepherd, he began, reciting the famous first passage of Psalm 23. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. The man continued, finishing with, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Then a second memorable thing occurred. The man closed the Bible, looked up and began to preach in his preachers voice. He spoke of the Old Testament and the New, righteousness and holiness, the strength of faith and the need for humility and to remember that, as the 23rd psalm teaches, we never have to feel alone if we believe.
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A Biblical Approach For People With Dementia And Their Families
Like the secular Medical Model, the biblical approach has a standard definition of dementia: decreased mental capabilities such as memory loss, inability to think abstractly, impaired decision-making, and the inability to communicate normally. The biblical approach values the contributions of physicians and considers dementia a medical condition that should be managed by a physician.
In addition, the biblical approach recognizes that people with dementia and their loved ones need counseling based on biblical truth. A biblical counselor is advised to take a personal interest in a counselee with dementia and visit frequently, be sensitive to spiritual needs, and encourage him or her from Scripture.
Many Christian families may choose to care for their loved one at home rather than send them to a nursing home, if possible. We see an application of this in 1 Timothy 2:3-16, a passage that focuses on the treatment of widows. The apostle Paul says that widows first need to provide for themselves or remarry. If this isnt possible, then the family is to help. Finally, if the family is unable to help, then the church would provide for her needs including proper housing, clothing, and food.
Howard fondly remembers an encouraging incident before his fathers death. His father told him, Kid, Id be in an awful fix if it werent for you. Thank you. Then a blank stare returned to his eyes.
One: Dementia Is A Disease
Like all disease, dementia is ultimately the result of the fall into sin recorded in Genesis 3. It was not part of Gods original creation when He said, It is good. Like all of the consequences of the fall, it will one day be corrected for believers as a part of the redemption that we have in Christ. We rarely see dementia resolved in this life, but we will see such a resolution in eternity.
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Helping Residents Connect Through Faith
Dan began the Bible study group about five years ago as a way to connect with residents outside of his usual role running the communityand as a way to practice his faith. I came to know the Lord about 12 years ago, says Dan, who grew up Catholic. That Five Star supported my starting the group says a lot about the company and its commitment to finding ways to help residents feel connected and letting team members ply their own creativity.
As many as 10 residents have met every week for most of the past five years. The group Dan started is an example of how Five Star team members go beyond their professional roles to get to know residents personally, the better to meet their needs. In Dans experience, Bible study seems especially well suited to connecting with people who have dementia. Theyve gone from a lifetime of activity to limited activity because of their dementia, he says. But God can still reach them.