Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today is World Alzheimer's Day

September 21st is World Alzheimer's Day. According to, "Alzheimer's affects about 10 percent of people ages 65 and up, and the prevalence doubles roughly every 10 years after age 65. Half of the population ages 85 and up may have Alzheimer's." By 2050, it is possible that 16 million Americans will have the disease.

Alzheimer's asks a lot of us as a society. It asks us to care for those who can no longer care for themselves. It asks us to care for those whose lives, many think, no longer meet society's standards for "quality of living". In fact, there are people in today's society who believe that those with dementia have a "duty to die". This blatant selfishness is a prime example of the "culture of death" that the late Pope John Paul II spoke out against. As Catholics and Christians, we have a duty to care for those who need our care and to see Our Lord in their faces.

Alzheimer's is challenging how we think as a people. It is challenging our ability to be forward thinking in developing the necessary caring relationships with our fellow human beings. It is challenging us to love as Jesus called us to love.

For more information about Alzheimer's disease, communication, home safety and caregiving, click here. I also have information in my sidebar about Catholic caregiving resources. I wanted to make a special mention of The Friends of Saint John the Caregiver. Saint John, the Beloved Disciple, took Our Lady into his home at the request of Jesus on the Cross. Thus, Saint John is thought of by some as the patron saint of caregivers. There is a Catholic organization called Friends of Saint John the Caregiver with information about caregiving from a Catholic perspective. They are a blessing and a godsend.

Lastly, pray for those who have dementia and for their caregivers. Here is a prayer from the Friends of St. John site:

Prayer to St. John, Patron of Caregivers

Beloved St. John, from the cross Jesus entrusted to you
the care of His Blessed Mother.
Help me and all those taking care of a loved one
who is sick, elderly, disabled or frail.
Pray for us, that as we go about our many caregiving
duties, we may never lose sight of that truth
which Christ revealed to His disciples:
"Whatever you did for one of these,
you did for Me."


Hat tip to MK.


Cygnus said...

Thanks for posting this. I lost my paternal grandmother to Alzheimer's; she suffered with it for at least seven years.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

My dear mil had Alzheimer's and my mom and aunt currently suffer from dementia.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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