DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My wife has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, and I dont know how Im going to take it. Shes already showing signs of forgetfulness, and I know its only going to get worse. Please pray Ill somehow find the strength to get through this. D.M.
By BILLY GRAHAM
Tribune Media Services
DEAR D.M.: My heart goes out to you; Alzheimers is a cruel disease (as are similar memory problems), causing not only confusion to those with it but placing enormous burdens on those who must take care of them.
Recently, I was talking with someone whose spouse has Alzheimers and no longer recognizes her. Let me pass on some practical lessons shes learned. First, she said, find out as much as you can about the disease and whats likely to happen as it progresses.
Second, it may be helpful for you to seek advice from a professional skilled in elder law, particularly if your financial resources are limited. In addition, dont get upset or angry if your spouse doesnt follow instructions; she probably cant understand them. Instead, always let her know you love her, no matter what happens. Finally, dont carry this burden alone, but seek help from others, even if its only for a few hours a day.
Most of all, my acquaintance said, turn to God every day for the strength and wisdom youll need in the months and years ahead. Remember: We are never alone when we know Christ. Gods promise is true: The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9).
Let me add one final point: Although I know it wont be easy, learn to thank God for the privilege of helping your loved one during her illness. Wouldnt she have done the same for you?
© Tribune Media Services 11/12