People with Alzheimer's Are Still People

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Nov. 3, 2014
  • Radio, Video Archives

For most people, the thought of living with Alzheimer’s is terrifying. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and as many as 5.1 million Americans live with this condition*, many do not understand this disease. We have come to believe as a society that our reasoning, language, memory, and the power to live independently is what makes us human. But what happens when the ability to think and reason is stripped away, when everything that we believe makes us human is robbed from us? The first patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Auguste Deter, experienced this sense of loss when she said, “I have lost myself.” Sadly, this is what some patients with Alzheimer’s feel—and what others perceive: that in this disease, humanness is lost. But a person is not gone because his or her ability to think clearly is gone. A person with Alzheimer’s has needs similar to those of anyone else: needs for relationships, care, attention, safety, and joy. Just because they may not be able to express their needs, doesn’t mean those needs don’t exist. In this short video, Naomi Feil, Founder of Validation Therapy, demonstrates the power in connecting at a personal level with people who have Alzheimer’s disease. She shows us that a relationship can be maintained between someone with and someone without Alzheimer’s. Through the use of touch, song, and kind words, Naomi is able to connect with Gladys Wilson, a woman who is virtually nonverbal because of her Alzheimer’s. It’s a powerful and moving video that will speak to you about what it truly means to be human, to be made in God’s image, and to long for lasting and meaningful relationships. With approximately 1 out of 6 people living with Alzheimer’s disease, chances are you do know someone with it, so take a look at this video and then share it with your friends in honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

*Statistic taken from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.


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Mom would sing every word on the 40s music on the radio long after she forgot who we were. I held her and sang "you are my sunshine" her last days and she broke into a big smile. Her last night on earth, I slept with her and played the Johnny Mathis Christmas album as I knew she would not be with us for Christmas again. Music reaches into the memory and soul long after other connections are lost.
  • May 30, 2015
  • 8:03 a.m.
  • Diana
This is the most significant collection of videos I have watched this year! Just sorry the forth one stops before he can tell how he escapes from hell -no doubt as a result of the faithful witness of the ambulance paramedic!
  • Dec. 29, 2014
  • 11:46 p.m.
  • Lydia Crossley
What a touching tribute to caregivers and those who so need their touch. Our family is Salvation Army. Our parents are retired but still active in their own ways, age 86/82. I don't know why people are so afraid to touch poor, elderly, mentally challenged residents. This video showed a simple and loving way to engage with someone who is still very much alive. Keep sharing
  • Nov. 13, 2014
  • 12:06 p.m.
  • gloria leibbrandt
Thank you so much for this video... Boy, I cried... We have elderly parents now... in their very late 80's... They have been with The Salvation Army for 60 + years and have had a lifetime of visiting the poor, sick, shut-ins, hospitals, nursing homes... We can relate in many ways to this video... even in our own family - in varying degrees... Thanks sooo much for posting this. (Joni, we knew you in Baltimore growing up and would see you in that little book store on Saturday's when we all were a bit younger!). Love and prayers as we continually seek the Lord's face that is oh so very near to us - at all times! Love, Joy
  • Nov. 13, 2014
  • 9:41 a.m.
  • Joy
This is precious! Reminds me of Ps 71:9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.
  • Nov. 5, 2014
  • 2:04 p.m.
  • Michael Webster
It was so wonderful to see the spirit is still very much alive inside. I've been in hospital with so many with Dementia & Alzheimer's and sadly so many staff shouted but the Bible says a soft word stops anger sorry that's my paraphrase. When they were spoken to gently & calmly they responded. My friends a nurse & she responds with what they want if it's to go shopping she takes them around the ward pretending to shop then they go back to bed very peaceful all night. Thanks Joni for bringing this to our attention.
  • Nov. 5, 2014
  • 1:20 a.m.
  • Susan Rees
Awesome! God is truly being glorified. Thank your for sharing this.
  • Nov. 4, 2014
  • 6:33 p.m.
  • Alex Kelley
I loved this video. I lost my grandmother to this disease this past April. I wish I had seen this a long time ago. Thank you.
  • Nov. 4, 2014
  • 6:13 p.m.
  • Susan
Profoundly touching! So much power in touch and being present with another soul. I work with children who have intense special needs and they also respond to genuine touch and song. PRECIOUS!
  • Nov. 4, 2014
  • 9:01 a.m.
  • Joyce Geng
Praise God, for his love endures forever! Thank you for your faithfulness .
  • Nov. 4, 2014
  • 6:06 a.m.
  • Kitty Quina
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