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The 36 Six Hour Day

“Woman,” he said in his kind and distinguished voice. “You must get out of this room. I’m a married man, and you should not be in here. I’m a preacher. Please leave my room.”

With tender, hurting eyes, his wife looked at him. “Honey, it’s me. I am your wife.”

“No, you are not my wife. Get out of my room.”

A precious godly woman told me of this exchange between her and her husband, who was at that time in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. They were able to keep him at home until his death, and in the earlier months of his illness, she would dress him in a suit and white shirt and take him to church. Sometimes, he would sing and join in the worship; on other occasions, it was as though he were in a strange building in an unknown land.

My friend Donna who came to dinner on Wednesday is faced with the terrifying knowledge that both her parents are rather rapidly developing significant dementia. I am so troubled for her, and when we discuss it, I can tell it weighs heavily on her mind, a certainly understandable response. The doctors say it is unusual for both a husband and wife to develop Alzheimer’s. Donna’s parents still live in their home, but the days that this can continue appear to be numbered. They get terribly confused about simple things, often forgetting which day of the week it is. Not long ago, they appeared at Donna’s church on Sunday morning, dressed for a stroll in the mall, and asking if there were something special going on at the church. “Why are there so many people here?” they inquired, thinking it was Thursday, not Sunday. Now, every morning, they call the telephone operator and ask what day it is.

Last week, Donna invited her parents to meet at Black Angus for dinner. She quizzed them thoroughly about the time, the place, and “did they know how to get there?” She called two or three times to remind them.

They did not show up at the restaurant, and when Donna called them, her mom said, “Well, we were right there waiting for you.”

“Where were you?”

“At the Red Lobster.”

Someone has recommended that Donna read a book called, “The 36 Hour Day” by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabin. She has obtained the book and is now reading it in preparation for the extreme challenges and sorrow that are ahead of her.

There may be some reading this today who need this reference. The book is available at Amazon.

My prayers and thoughts are with all of you who face the extremely daunting challenge of caring for friends and loved ones whose minds are being destroyed by the terrifying disease of Alzheimer’s.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

7 replies on “The 36 Six Hour Day”

Helen and Carolena, thank you for your contributions to this subject. There are probably few diseases that bring as much grief as does this one. We who know God have a special consolation that others do not have.

My prayers are with you and your mtoher, Carolena, and to your pastoral friend, Helen.


My mom is in the middle stages of Alzheimers. She and my dad live with my sister. She forgets many things and has forgotten things such as how to cook. But one thing that she hasn’t forgotten is how to worship God. Everytime she is in church she worships God with all that is in her. It is reassuring to see her so happy. I ask God to be with her and not let her suffer. And I know He hears my prayers when I see her loving her God! God is so good.


A pastor friend of mine lost his wife early this year. Rosie had battled mental illness much of her adult life. Then, just as the depression let up, she began the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The family, with the help of church members, kept her at home as long as they could. Then she went to a nursing home. Richard would visit her every day, unless he was out of town. On good days. he though she might recognize him. On bad days, he knew she didn’t. And still he went day after day. Richard is a bout sixty and will retire as a pastor in the next few years.


I, too, know what it is to lose a parent to Alzheimer’s. My dad died 11 months ago today after about 9 years of decline. We, too, were blessed to be able to keep him in the home, where my parents spent many years together, until he died. My mother took wonderful care of him from the very early stages of misplacing things up to the late stages when he was bedridden, non-communicative and fed through a permanent feeding tube. God is taking care of him now. (Actually, God has taken care of him since before he was even born, but my mom had the privilege of giving Him a hand for a while.)

Please, have your friend contact the Alzheimer’s Association in her area. They have resources available to help and, if nothing else, the latest information on treatments and ways to cope with what is happening to her parents.


Tena, you brave and sweet woman. Not only have you gone through such an ordeal, but in your typical kind and helpful way, you share your experience and hope with others. Yes, our ultimate hope in any–and all–situations is only with Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Thank you.


We dealt with my husband’s mom for six years as she progressivly got worse with dementia and Parkensin’s Disease. She lived next door to us, his dad still does, up until her death one year ago, next month. At the end, she looked at us with a question in her eye, wondering who we were. It hurt my husband terribly and there were many days of hell dealing with it all. I began to pray, “God save her, then take her.” She was miserable. The last three years, she was in a nursing home and the guilt of putting her there added to the pain. It was a time in our lives of suffering, but…that’s life. In life, there are ups and there are downs. Thank God, right now our lives are in the UP part. My prayers and heart go out to your friend. The only thing that kept me from loosing my mind, at times, was my relationship with Jesus. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I would hide myself away and pour out all my pain, uncertainty, and questions to Him and I would ALWAYS come out of there feeling better – until I had to go there again. Jesus always met me there.


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