The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So, let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.—ROMANS 13:12 (NIV)
A pastor who was caring for his wife shared with me how his wife responded when the doctor told her she had Alzheimer’s. She turned to her husband and said, ‘Well, I want everyone to know about it. I don’t want the people at church saying, ‘What’s wrong with her?!’” The husband felt a sense of relief and said, “I knew then what to do from the very beginning. I’ve always believed in open communication. We get into trouble when we try to fake things and cover up and all that. It’s best just to let it out. So, the people at church learned to adapt to my wife.”
Behaviors associated with dementia prompt us to protect our loved one from stares or whispers, so we often avoid taking them out. However, that behavior results in isolating ourselves from those who can provide support, and that can be a very dark place to dwell. Doing so also robs others of the opportunity to learn about our loved one’s illness and about our specific needs. Most importantly, it keeps us from putting on the armor of light by accepting help from those who can dispel the darkness through acts of kindness.