Supporting a Friend or Family Member with Dementia
by Kathryn Smith
What Is Dementia
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability, severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain. Memory loss is one example.
Types of Dementia
*Alzheimer’s Disease
*Vascular Dementia
*Lewy Body Disease
*Mixed Dementia
*Parkinson’s Disease
*Frontotemporal Dementia
*Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
*Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
*Huntington’s Disease
*Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Dementia affects different parts of the brain. Information regarding some of the changes can be found on the following website:
Always seek medical advice
Getting accurate diagnosis by your medical professional is important. Your local doctor will do some cognitive testing (testing persons short/long term memory) plus a full physical examination, including blood and urine testing, to rule out any underlying problems that could be treated with correct medication.

You Are Not Alone
It can be easy to feel isolated when you are dealing with someone who has dementia. There are many scriptures that can provide comfort as you recognise that God is with you and wants to help you in this difficult journey, including:
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV). Trusting in God gets you to the next level and brings you through. It’s a choice we make to trust God and live by faith with all our heart, being mindful of God and focusing on him alone. I find that, when life becomes a challenge (for example when I lost my job last year), by putting all my energy in trusting in a faithful God all my needs will be provided for. I now have a job, not the one I applied for but a position higher than my previous one.
Psalms 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (NIV). We overcome obstacles in life as we take the focus off ourselves and put it on to God. The strength we gain is only from God as he helps us through our time of distress.
Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you” (NIV). As the verse says, be strong and don’t be afraid, God is a mighty God and he will carry you, take you by your hand through the hard times and he will never leave.

There are many websites with helpful information that can be accessed. Following are some suggestions, but there are many others which could be helpful (Google “dementia”).

Alzheimer’s Australia –  Alzheimer’s Australia also has a National Dementia Helpline on 1800-100500.

Dept of Social Services, My Aged Care –

Beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Go to and search (top right corner) “dementia”.
Alzheimer Europe –
Alzheimer’s Society (UK) –
National Alzheimer’s Association (USA) –
Parkinson’s Australia –

For PDF version click here: ANCMHA Tip Sheet Dementia



Information and resources available on this website are not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor (such as your General Practitioner) or other health care professional, and medical professionals should always use their own clinical judgement before relying upon this information. All Nations Christian Mental Health Association (ANCMHA) is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use (or misuse) of information contained in or implied by the information on this site.