Charles is 78 years old and there is much he cannot remember. He cannot remember the names of his children, why he lives in a nursing home, or even whether he ate breakfast today. His forgetting causes confusion, and in his fear and uncertainty he sometimes lashes out at those who try to care for him. But when someone reads a favorite Psalm he quickly joins in, reciting each cherished word. When he hears an old hymn of faith, his hand slowly raises and he breathes out each word quietly, his face reflecting a peace that passes all understanding.
Alzheimer’s disease has been described as the “defining disease” of the baby boomer generation. Millions of Americans will spend much of their retirement years either caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or experiencing its effects on their lives firsthand. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they face great uncertainty, knowing that they can expect to live their remaining years with increasing confusion and progressively greater reliance upon other people to care for them. As the disease advances it seems to overwhelm a person, narrowing their focus and leading them to forget critical truths about the Lord, their life with him, and his promises.
Through the personal stories of those affected and the loved ones who care for them, Dr. Benjamin Mast highlights the power of the gospel for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Filled with helpful, up-to-date information, Dr. Mast answers common questions about the disease and its effect on personal identity and faith as he explores the biblical importance of remembering and God’s commitment to not forget his people. In addition, he gives practical suggestions for how the church can come alongside families and those struggling, offering help and hope to victims of this debilitating disease.
If you are a Christian who knows or loves someone with Alzheimer’s disease, have recently been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease, or are a pastor or ministry leader seeking to better understand and minister to people with Alzheimer’s disease this book will encourage you with the good news of God’s faithfulness and the future hope he calls us to.
About the Author
Dr. Benjamin Mast, Ph.D, is a licensed clinical psychologist, Associate Professor in Psychological & Brain Sciences and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville, and an elder at Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky.
My mother, one the godliest people to ever walk on this earth, died from Alzheimer’s. The debilitating effects of this disease were almost more than we could bear. A book like this would have been worth its weight in gold! I cannot commend highly enough what a gift it will be to families everywhere. -- Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Second Forgetting is filled with wisdom and hope and soaked in the compassion, grace, and kindness of God. It is a fascinating book---it is theologically rich and very practical on how to care for those struggling with Alzheimer’s and for their family members. -- Justin Holcomb, Episcopal priest, seminary professor, and author of Know the Creeds and Councils and Know the Heretics.
What is a Christian to think when a loved one who has been faithful to God’s commands and steeped in his Word behaves in ways that are strange to family and even to self? Do we fear ourselves that we may lose our memory, our mind, such that all spiritual that we value dissolves into apparent oblivion? Ben Mast has provided us with much-needed perspective and encouragement about the ongoing interaction among God, family, and those who begin to forget. -- Dan G. Blazer MD, MPH, PhD, JP Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
An expert in the field of Alzheimer’s, Mast has woven together the latest research with a gospel-centered orientation and the compassion of a caregiver to produce a biblically informed and practical guide for those in the early stages of the disease and those who love or minister to those afflicted. A welcome and needed resource! -- Eric Johnson, Professor of Pastoral Care, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Director of the Society for Christian Psychology
Second Forgetting isn’t simply scientific theories regarding the brain, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss, but the deep, prayerful, and careful counsel of a pastor. Dr. Mast is not only a seasoned scholar but a soul physician. My hope is that his prescription would lead to a healthier, holier and more hopeful church. Buy this book. -- Daniel Montgomery, Pastor of Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY, Author of Faithmapping and PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace
When memory is compromised we lose touch with connections to people … and also with God. Benjamin Mast takes us into the inside of memory loss and helps us understand from within what it is like to experience such a tragic, disabling disease. Caregivers who read this book will respond more empathically and effectively to people who struggle to remember. -- Ronald J. Nydam, Ph.D., D.Min., Professor of Pastoral Care, Calvin Theological Seminary; Author of Adoptees Come of Age: Living Within Two Families
Dr. Mast leads the reader through Second Forgetting to Second Remembering as he reminds us that all people have infinite value and that God remembers each person no matter the circumstances. This book contains a powerful message of hope, written especially for those of the Christian faith, but it also contains eternal truths helpful for individuals of all faiths. This message is a must for those of us dedicated to a better way of communicating and relating to the person with dementia. -- Virginia Bell, MSW, co-author of the Best Friends Approach books
We forget … God always remembers. Thank you, Ben, for this profound reminder. -- Jolene Brackey, national speaker on Alzheimer's Disease, author of Creating Moments of Joy
Whether newly diagnosed, caring for a loved one with the diagnosis, or ministering as pastor or friend, readers will find themselves returning repeatedly to the gentle wisdom and compassion conveyed in these pages. -- Susan H. McFadden, Research Consultant, Fox Valley Memory Project, and John T. McFadden, Memory Care Chaplain, Appleton Health Care Center
One of the greatest fears of growing old is the ever-increasing possibility of developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia, raising the lament, “Who am I if I can’t remember who I am?” Using Scripture and inspiring testimonies of dementia-afflicted people he has known and helped, Dr. Mast shows the reader how to respond to the experience of dementia as God’s beloved children. -- Jane M. Thibault, PhD, Clinical Professor Emerita, Clinical Gerontologist, University of Louisville, School of Medicine