Are there any Christian resources to use for an Alzheimer's bible study group?

Christinaraj asked...

I would like to facilitate a bible study/support group for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (not the caregiver). There are three people who are in the beginning to middle stages of the disease who are interested in getting together twice a month. Are there christian resources for this group - devotions, bible study, videos, etc. that I can use?

Expert Answer

Shelly Beach, MRE, is a seminary graduate; instructor at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan; author of seven books; and contributor to The NIV Stewardship Study Bible. She speaks nationally on faith, writing, and caregiving and is a host on the website Help for My Life in roundtable discussions on care issues. Beach's most recent release is Ambushed by Grace: Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey.

I'm unaware of Bible study materials specifically written for Christians diagnosed with Alzheimer's who are looking for a support group. But resources do exist that can be effectively used to meet the needs of Christians facing terminals diseases like Alzheimer's.

One book is Prayers and Promises When Facing a Life-Threatening Illness (Zondervan 2007), written by former pastor Ed Dobson, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. The book consists of short devotionals written in a practical, easily understood format and discusses the circumstances, emotions, fears, and challenges in facing a terminal illness. Material from the book is easily adaptable into discussions.

A second suggestion would be My Journey into Alzheimer's Disease (Tyndale 1989), by Robert Davis. Although this book was published a number of years ago, it is available on Amazon, and it offers the perspective of the former pastor of a large church in Miami who is living through Alzheimer's at the time he is writing the book. His practical, emotional, and spiritual insights are extremely valuable. Pastor Davis was already in the early to mid stages of Alzheimer's at the time he was writing the book, and his perspectives on the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of the disease will be especially meaningful for your participants.

I've also written a book titled Precious Lord, Take My Hand (Discovery House Publishers 2007) that shares my caregiving experiences with a mother with Alzheimer's in a short devotional format based on personal experiences. This book might also be useful, since the devotionals are short, easy to read, and are story-driven. Each devotional offers a Bible verse, prayer, discussion question, and journaling space.

It may also be helpful to get permission to make copies of individual pages from books and enlarge those pages for your participants. Studies show that those with Alzheimer's respond best to larger sans serif fonts printed on the right side of a white page.