Counseling One Another

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Counseling One Another

Alzheimer’s: lllness affecting Mind and Spirit

In one of last week’s posts, Keeping Body, Soul, and Life’s Troubles Together in Balance, I offered you a few Scripture passages to study in order to ponder the affects that the body, mind, and soul have upon each other. Another aspect that needs attention is that of how physical illness, including the brain, affects mood and behavior. One example for us to reflect upon is Alzheimer’s Disease, which affects more and more people whom we love.

For this reason, I am very excited about the forthcoming biblical counseling booklet, HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s, by Deborah Howard, RN, CHPN and Judy Howe, BA, MA. The following list of warning signs is from this new resource available early 2012.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Howard and Howe ask, “So when is the problem a result of normal aging and forgetfulness, and when is it time to see your doctor?” Following are 10 warning signs provided by the Alzheimer’s Association:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.  One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information.  Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.  Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers.  They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.  They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks.  Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
  4. Confusion with time or place.  People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.  They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately.  Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.  For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s.  They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.  In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room.  They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.  People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation.  They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves.  They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.  A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places.  They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again.  Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing.  This may occur more frequently over time.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.  People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making.  For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers.  They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.  A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.  They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby.  They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.  The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change.  They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.  They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

HELP! Someone I Love has Alzheimer’s is rich with wise, biblically-based counsel for all affected by this disease—victims and caregivers. The booklet goes to the presses next month. I’ll let you know as soon as it becomes available.

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6 Comments

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  2. Paul,
    Thanks for your interactions a few days ago. As you may have surmised, I am a neuropsychologist, specifically one who specializes in dementia. God allowed the great privilege of being a part of the HBO The Alzheimer’s Project. I am in “The Memory Loss Tapes”, which is the first video in the series. If you are interested, you can find it at: http://www.hbo.com/alzheimers/memory-loss-tapes.html

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  4. I am so glad to learn of this publication and will review it on my blog about my husband’s Alzheimer’s. Where will it be available?

    I am working on a degree in Nouthetic counseling and have written papers about my journey, including how to deal with the biblical authority issues of a husband with Alzheimer’s. Prayer and Bible reading have helped me so much. My husband knows he has this disease and we are able to discuss it and enjoy each day. I often have prayed that our gracious LORD would guide my husband and He has so that I haven’t had to be the boss to this point and he trusts me when I have to tell him to take his pills, etc. We pray together and he thanks God for the good day, even quipping that he can’t remember it, but grateful for it. Although he passed two driving tests for Alzheimer’s patients, recently he decided to give up driving–an example of prayers being answered. I miss my husband driving us around, but know that I have a God who has answered prayers about hubby accepting not driving.

    • Thanks for your God-honoring testimony, Carol. What a great example of the love and servanthood of Christian marriage! I’ll let all the blog readers know when the booklet will be available and how to get it. Will be praying for you and your husband as you come to mind.