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By Eileen Shamy

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Extra 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

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No two people progress through this disease at the same rate or to the same pattern, but while it is not possible to place a person on the continuum with any accuracy, these stages do provide us with a model for understanding people for purposes of discussion and for planning for the optimum quality of life for individuals living with this most devastating illness. The forgetfulness stage (minimal to mild dementia) During this first stage there is short-term memory loss, that is, recent events are forgotten.

The course of changes in intellectual or cognitive abilities, behaviours and emotions varies from person to person. No two people progress through this disease at the same rate or to the same pattern, but while it is not possible to place a person on the continuum with any accuracy, these stages do provide us with a model for understanding people for purposes of discussion and for planning for the optimum quality of life for individuals living with this most devastating illness. The forgetfulness stage (minimal to mild dementia) During this first stage there is short-term memory loss, that is, recent events are forgotten.

We do not know how to feed such ‘sheep’ or even if it is proper to try. We live during a phase of human history when the fastest-growing age group in the world is that of the 100 years plus group. This means that we can expect an increasing number of people with some kind of dementia illness. These people have a right to spiritual health and well-being. Their spiritual needs are the same as for everyone else. If people with dementia are to sense the love of God we must find a way to remind them and to include them in the Church in spite of the chaos of confusion and severe memory loss.

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