By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Alzheimer’s, Dementia. What Now?: Help and Hope for Caregivers, Family and Friends, co-authored by Nashville native Jim Henry and Deb Terry, addresses the challenges families face in dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Henry recalled that when he first learned of his wife Jeanette’s diagnosis of dementia, he did what came naturally most of his life: pray.
“Most of my life I have been a caregiver for God’s people,” explained Henry, former pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, and pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., and a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Now I was being called to be a caregiver for the one person to whom I was most important — the love of my life who has stood by me and with me,” he recalled.
Henry acknowledged he realized he was “entering a world about which I knew very little. I did not have a clue about what I needed to do or what I needed to know to assume this role,” Henry admitted.
“However, I do know this now,” Henry wrote in the introduction to his book. “That is why this book was written. Our journey took off on that wild rollercoaster ride. Yours may have just begun, or, perhaps you have been on this ride for a while. This book is intended to encourage you on your journey as you care for your loved one while walking each step of “the long good bye,” he wrote.
The book is co-written by Deb Terry, former children’s director at FBC, Orlando, who resigned her position in 2007 in order to care for her dad who had Alzheimer’s Disease. When Terry and her husband, Scott, began the journey to help care for her father, she acknowledged they began with no specific plan. “However, we were certain God had a plan. God faithfully revealed what we needed day by day and step by step as we put our trust in Him to take care of our needs,” she recalled.
Terry noted that it has been a decade since her father died and she has had many opportunities to tell her story and she often was asked if she had written a book or planned to write one.
“God’s perfect provision and timing allowed Dr. Jim Henry and me to collaborate on this project. We found much commonality in our experiences of walking with a loved one through the ravages of this horrible disease.
“There are lessons we both learned through this process that will help others gain insight, offer hope in times of despair and point to the kind of healing only God can provide. Our message to you, the caregiver, is to take heart. You are not alone,” Terry said.
Henry observed that the book “is a blending of our stories with practical advice from us and others who have lived with loved ones who have suffered this horrific disease, and in the midst of it, have found help and hope.
“Even more importantly, they have ultimately found healing for the pain in their own lives because of a deepening relationship with Christ Jesus,” he said.
He stressed that the book is written with the caregiver in mind and addresses 18 central questions which caregivers will eventually seek answers for. Among them are simple questions like “What are the things I need to know?” or “What are the first steps I need to take?” and move on to “What financial and legal preparation do I need to make?” and “How do I tackle the daily care of my loved one?”
Each chapter addresses one of the 18 questions that Henry and Terry developed and also provide stories and struggles of being a caregiver.
Henry noted that at the end of each chapter, they provide Scripture and prayer to share hope with the caregiver.
“This very real hope has made the difference in our lives and our individual journeys with Alzheimer’s,” Henry said.
The book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble or contact Henry at www.jimhenry.today or Terry at www.debdterry.com. B&R