A Guide to the Spiritual Dimension of Care for People With by Eileen Shamy

By Eileen Shamy

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Additional resources for A Guide to the Spiritual Dimension of Care for People With Alzheimer s Disease and Related Dementia: More Than Body, Brain, and Breath

Example text

As I settled her in the spare bedroom with a hot water bottle she asked for a cup of tea. She seemed not to remember that she had only seconds before finished a cup in the lounge. At the time, however, I did not register the significance of that memory loss. Everything appeared to be as normal as it could be in the painful circumstances and I went to bring the tea. I gave it to her, sat down on the edge of the bed and, in the anguish of my grief, said something like: ‘Oh, Mum, you have lived a long time.

The sad trauma of transferring care to professional care givers has begun. The dementia stage (moderate to severe dementia) This stage is reached when remaining intellectual and self-care abilities have deteriorated to such an extent that they can no longer sustain survival if the UNDERSTANDING ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND OTHER PRIMARY DEMENTIAS 53 person were to be left alone to fend for himself or herself. Many people with Alzheimer’s disease may never reach this stage because they die of other conditions (heart attack, stroke or pneumonia, for instance) before the disease has progressed this far.

Is that not remarkable? It seems to support what I have observed many times: people with dementia are not without spiritual awareness. The stories of Jesus found in the gospels abound with references to such forgotten folk as this unfortunate Gerasene. It seems to have been precisely for people like this that the gospel of Christ was to be such very good news. The Church is the bearer of this good news and yet it seems to be the nature of institutions that they will, if possible, build in protective attitudes and structures to cushion individual members from the discomforts which such embarrassing people engender.

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