Does God Speak to People with Alzheimer’s?

All of Beverly’s life, she has known her mother as a “wonderful Christian woman.” That was before she developed Alzheimer’s some eight years ago. Since then, the disease has worsened to the point that she no longer recognizes Beverly as her daughter. Her mother’s Alzheimer’s is so advanced that she was moved to a secure memory care facility last year.

Several weeks ago, the memory care facility called Beverly’s sister to tell her that her mother was hysterical. Although she is mostly nonverbal, she was screaming, “Something’s wrong with the baby!” Beverly’s sister had no idea what she was talking about and tried to calm her mother down over the phone, saying the baby was fine.  Later, Beverly and her sister discovered that while their mother was yelling at the top of her lungs about a baby, Beverly’s nine-month-old grandson was choking on plastic.

 

How can that be? How can an 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s possibly know what was going on with her great grandson?

 

Because she was speaking from her spirit.

 

Each one of us is made up of spirit, soul and body. The soul is our mind, will and emotions. The body is the physical matter we can see with our own eyes and the spirit is the very core of who we are. When a person agrees with God about their sin and receives Christ’s sacrifice as payment for their sins, that person becomes a Christian. Their spirit takes on the very nature of God. And Alzheimer’s cannot touch it.

 

I have heard of sweet Christian men and women who develop Alzheimer’s and begin cursing like sailors. Their behavior changes so drastically that it’s hard to imagine what they were like before the disease. But this is not their spirit talking. This is the Alzheimer’s talking.

A person’s spirit is the one thing dementia cannot touch.

 

Alzheimer’s has taken a lot from my Father these past 14 years. His memory, cognition, problem-solving skills, mental aptitude, balance and motor skills have all been affected. But the one thing that has not changed is his spirit.

 

My Father watches a good bit of TV these days since his body has slowed down. He laughs at the Andy Griffith Show, enjoys baseball games and anything with children in it, and passes the time with weather shows or military movies. But when he watches a Billy Graham crusade or any kind of preaching show, he is alert, focused and tuned in. Sometimes he’ll lean forward in his chair or wave away any distracting conversations Mom and I may be having close by.

There are times I’ll come home from church and give accounts of people who’ve been healed or accepted Christ as their Savior. And every time I do, he has a huge smile on his face and will say, “That’s great!” When he accompanies me to church, he’ll nod in agreement when the Word of God is being preached. Whenever my Father prays, even if his prayers don’t make sense to me, they always make sense to God. Because it’s spirit talking to Spirit.

 

When Beverly’s mother started screaming out about the baby, she thinks her mom was probably praying the whole time, in her own way. God heard those prayers and the baby was saved from choking to death.

 

Our loved ones may be limited by Alzheimer’s, but God is not. He can speak to any of His children, anytime, anywhere. And He does.

 

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:6

14 thoughts on “Does God Speak to People with Alzheimer’s?”

  1. A very clear message about the importance of praying always for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. So true. Thanks for reminding us that God is always with his children, no matter what our physical, emotional, or cognitive limits are.

  3. Angie, once again you have brought such an encouraging word of #TRUTH.
    Although I have never met your Dad. I feel as if I know him, because I can see his sweet spirit shining through the photos of him.🙂

    1. Thanks Bobbie. He is a sweetheart. Whenever we get in the car, if he forgets where his seatbelt is, I reach across him to grab it. Anytime I do, he thinks I’m giving him a hug so he’ll hug me. 🙂

  4. AMEN, GOD has taught you so much through JACK’S illness. PTL HE is still using you to open everyone;s eyes to GOD’S goodness and grace. May your blogs forever leave a leagacy about your family’s faith in our DEAR LORD JESUS. HUGS.

    1. Thanks Ms. Vera. You are right. God has opened my eyes to SOOO many things and I’m grateful if what I write helps just one person. Blessings!

  5. Oh, Angie, thank you so much for this message. When my precious, Godly Grannie was suffering with dementia, she would sometimes snap at or speak harshly to my mother. Then she would weep at what she had done. As she drew closer to her homegoing, she seemed like a shadow of the strong, loving woman she’d always been, but I believe that her spirit was still intact and bright and that her bond with God’s Spirit was growing stronger as her ties to this world weakened. These are things we’ve felt, but I’ve never heard it so beautifully put into words. Thank you for helping to bring those last painful years into clearer focus. What you are doing is a gift to all of us.

    1. I’m humbled by your comment Stacy. I never knew what I wrote could help refashion a memory to make it better. Thank you for sharing your heart and I’m praying for you and Ken. Blessings!

  6. Yes and amen! Our spirits do not get dementia! We need to continue to sing, read scripture and pray because that ministers to the spirit of one with dementia! Great post Angie!

    1. Thanks Robin! Is there anyway I can get a list of other places that are starting their own congregational respite programs? I meet people periodically with loved ones in other parts of Georgia and I would love to be able to send them to something like Grace Arbor in their area. Thanks!

  7. Great. We never know what is going on in their mind. I know the brain is shrinking but the spirit is untouched.

    1. So true. Thank you for ALL that you do for Dad. Your love and dedication to him are such an example. Love you!

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