Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
My wife has of late become interestd in religious things.
Gets very upset thinking about the crusifixion and (her words )the way they treated poor Jesus.
She often tells me "Jesus is up there ".
Also talks a lot about Grandad who died in about 1945 and what an awful life he had with his wife.
Norman :confused:


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
Dear Norman

Margaret is just the opposite, she was a Sunday school teacher, a Mothers Union Committee member and a regular Church goer.

Now she shows no interest in anything to do with religion and will not attend church even when I offer to go with her.

MInd you it is not suprising, in the five years since she was diagnosed with AD we have had two visits from people connected with the church, and neither of those was a member of the clergy.

Her lack of interest is not peculiar to religion, she appears to have lost interest in everything.

The only things she seems to remember is the fact that her mother died in childbirth, (and she seems to feel guilty about that), and that she was brought up by her paternal grandparents. And she tells me (and anyone else who is about) numerous times daily.

Sorry I've gone on a bit, you touched a raw nerve.

Barraf :mad:


Just a thought, Norman, and this may be way off base, so please make allowances.
There is a part of the brain, part of the temporal lobe, which is supposedly the site of spirituality. Lots of recent research has pointed to the fact that damage in this part of the brain results in a deeper than usual spiritual dimension. Van Gogh, and others, had temporal lobe injury resulting in epilepsy, but also in spiritual fervour and a depth of feeling around religion.
It may be that your wife now has lesions/clusters to this part of her brain, and this is why she feels so strongly about spiritual matters, and matters of religion. A psychologist called Geschwind did a lot a reseach into this religious psychoneurology.
It's just my feeling, and therefore possibly not worth very much, that this may be giving her comfort as her illness progresses.
I am sure she is happy in her newly-discovered spirituality and religiosity. It is probably a temporary state, but is a state of spiritual awareness.


Registered User
Sep 8, 2003
Hi Norman

I've not been around for a while, but your post tonight struck a nerve. Mum in law is not a religious person, and neither am I. Having said that, I have often found myself in my local chapel, praying for help to give me strength to deal with everything that has happened. Did it help??? Yes.... Briefly.... In the long term NO... of course it didn't because my faith is not truly in my heart. In many ways I really envy those people who do have faith.

Best Regards
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Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Der All,

My father was always very religious and my mother less so. Neither of them now seem terribly preoccupied with religion - rather they are more interested in philosophy if they ever think about life deeply enough.



Registered User
Jul 9, 2003
South Coast
Some eight years ago, a couple of years after my husband started to show signs of dementia, he went on the Pilgrimage to Santiago de la Compostela in Northern Spain, which a friend organised with a group of four other very supportive friends. My husband loved walking, and they walked about 150 miles in three weeks. He went, I think, for the challenge and to see the places, but came back and started attending church regularly every Sunday almost up to the time he was finally admitted to hospital.

I am not a churchgoer, but when he got too confused to be safe by himself, I walked him to church and collected him. I knew some people there who would keep an eye on him, including one of the churchwardens whose husband had suffered from Alzheimers, but was by then in a home, but I got the distinct impression that his occasional moves from one pew to another were frowned on, and I know that when he first went with his friend, they were ticked off in no uncertain terms for sitting in someone else's pew - I thought that went out with feudalism!

My husband had been a choirboy as a lad, but had shown no interest in religion since then. Although I have a deep interest in spiritual matters, across all religions, I was brought up as a Methodist and felt very ill at ease with the importance placed on ritual observed in this particular "high" Anglican church, and just couldn't go in with him after a couple of attempts.

I respect other people's religious beliefs, and have occasionally been known to put up a prayer to whatever power exists in the universe, but find that Buddhist thought, with Christianity as a pretty good rough guide to how to behave to others, is the path that most nearly approaches what I feel. I'm still wrestling with it, and guess I always will.

I was very interested in what BJ said about the temporal lobe. My husband presented a real problem in diagnosis (and is still diagnosed as having "atypical" Alzheimers - this from real experts at the National Hospital for Neurology) - and his current psychiatrist freely admits they don't really know what it is. However, until about two years ago, it was thought that his disease was located in the fronto-temporal region until he started to show signs of more generalised brain disease.

Now a rant... Being more used to Methodism, (my mother is a regular attender, and I have occasionally accompanied her to church), and knowing how her minister and congregation look out for each other, I became gradually more aware that nobody from his church had visited him in hospital, not even the priest. I finally got a postcard put through the door at home from the priest six months after my husband had been admitted, saying that he had called but nobody was in, and hoping that my husband was well! I was feeling quite ill by then, and although I must admit that my first reaction was to phone up and give the vicar an earful, I really didn't have the energy, and now I regard anger as a waste of time.

I have asked if the hospital chaplain could give communion to my husband, as even if he isn't really aware now of what it is all about, I feel that if it was important to him before, then he shouldn't be denied it now, even if his rediscovery of religious belief was physical in origin.

Rant over - thanks for listening.



Registered User
Jun 29, 2004
a good experience

hi everyone,

my mum was a church goer; still is though she doesnt know she's there, but she still knows all the words of the hymns without the book. We've had a very different experience with the church and the local community; they've been great. There's a wee hall next to the church and whenever I go in, people always come over to speak to her and myself. In the earlier stages, when mum was wandering, she would often wander in there, they would sit her down with a cup of tea and call me. On one occasion, mum walked past someone's window, they took her into their house, and gave her a change of clothes because she was wet. They paid for me and mum to go to Lourdes for a week in a four star hotel on the local diocesan pilgrimage, and when they were there they would look after mum for me to give me some time to myself. The priest visits our house once a month, and I see him quite regularly anyway. He never walks past, and he and the church took up fisticuffs on Mum's behalf over an issue of care with the local politicians.
Sorry, I always seem to be bumming about how great everything is up here; our community are ordinary folk, not saints, but they're good folk and they deserve a mention, I think.



Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
Hi all,
This is a very interesting thread. I haven't been a member in a church for almost 20 years but consider myself intouch with the different Christian denominations. I have been a stained glass artist for over 30 years with church focus. So I have had the privledge of getting to know folks with all kinds of philosophys and practices. I've been taking my AD Mom to the Methodist church since it was where we were brought up and I knew it would be comfortable for her there. She just loves it, she still has a beautiful voice even though she can't read music any more, she still remembers the old hymns and just sings her heart out !
I know that AD is terribly unfair but I don't ask God "why". We are just mere mortal folks and things just happen, what's next is where we find total health and fair. I think if I didn't believe that I would go nuts.



Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Hi Norman,

I suppose your wife talking about Grandad is similar to my Dad asking where his mother is. To him, at that moment, it's 70 years ago and she's about to walk into the room. Mum, quick as a flash, says 'oh, she's not coming round today'!

The religion aspect sounds more upsetting. Did your wife used to be religious? If she had a religious upbringing then she may be re-living some of the experiences that she felt back then. (As a child might get upset on hearing the crucifixion story for the first time). Why people have to fill children's heads with frightening stories like that is beyond me - but perhaps I'd better not say too much on that subject!

I found bjthink's explanation very interesting. If religion is bringing your wife comfort, then there's no problem, but if the opposite is happening then I guess there's not much you can do other than try changing the subject (which we all become experts in sooner or later :( )

Best wishes,


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Religion & spirituality

Hey Norman,

I have heard the fronto temporal area can affect spirituality also. Dad has more fronto-temporal damage than what is normal for straight Alzheimers and although he didn't get religious, for a time there he was talking to the spirits, old friends that he knew were dead (so he wasn't just thinking they were still around). He'd tell us that Don visited him last night, or he would see his dead brother Sam just sitting behind me and have a conversation with him. He might still be seeing them all now as well as he often looks to the side of me and talks to something/someone but these days he doesn't make words that you can understand. Often gets me thinking whose reality is the real reality??!!

Just another thought none of the replies here seem to be from very religious people, have we lost faith because of this disease or have we already been sent to you know where for not having the faith in the first place?? If the latter is true then it confirms my opinion of God.


Registered User
Mar 13, 2004
Dear Nat

Your question "whose reality is the real reality" is something I have often wondered when I watched my mother with Alz and have wondered about since her death.

She sometimes had conversations with people whom I couldn't see but she appeared to be looking straight at.

Alzheimer's is an enigma, but it seems a lot of us have similar thoughts on its mysteries when dealing with it.
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Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
Hi Magic,
I think there are alot of mysterys to life and the beyond. You are so right, who knows what place they are in, just because it is not in this reality doesn't mean God is not taking care of them on a different plane.
Faith is something that ebbs and flows in our life. It is probably impossible to maintain is constantly. I have found that if I draw on my faith during the more difficult times in my life, it helps me to get through it.


Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
jc141265 said:
none of the replies here seem to be from very religious people, have we lost faith because of this disease or have we already been sent to you know where for not having the faith in the first place?? If the latter is true then it confirms my opinion of God.
Not wanting to offend anyone here, but I'm afraid that my "opinion" of God took an irrevocable knock when my Dad got cancer in October '77, at the age of 52, and died 6 long months later. My Mum's AD hasn't done anything to improve it. I just try to do the best I can in this life, given that it's Hobson's choice anyhow.
I do sincerely hope that there is a better place hereafter, where we shall all meet up again free of pain (& guilt) :) perhaps we TP strangers will be able to get to know each other in happier circumstances (if I'm allowed in :p !)


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
The religion aspect sounds more upsetting. Did your wife used to be religious? If she had a religious upbringing then she may be re-living some of the experiences that she felt back then. (As a child might get upset on hearing the crucifixion story for the first time). Why people have to fill children's heads with frightening stories like that is beyond me - but perhaps I'd better not say too much on that subject!
Hazel No and I agree with the last paragraph
The religious aspect has gone now,so has Granddad.


Registered User
Mar 13, 2004
Religion is often a subject that offends, as we all have different beliefs. But I think it is brilliant that we can express our opinions here, Norman has started a very interesting thread. I for one like to hear of others opinions, religious matters are something that I think we have all struggled with during our alzheimers journeys.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
For my own part, I hope to be composted and used to mulch a rhododendron yakushimanum someplace. I believe that is the most one can hope for.


Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
I'm with you Brucie, I want to be a tree ! If I'm right and I'm in heaven, maybe I'll get to watch the tree grow and if I'm wrong and there is no here after, I will still be a tree ! :D


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
I have posted before on Lionels wishes to have a Viking funeral.
As for me, well I always wanted my ashes scattered from the top of Dunkery Beacon, but my Len always reckoned that it would kill him to walk to the top......
Oh well, I will go with Bruce on this one.....Compost sounds a good idea. Connie


Registered User
May 14, 2006
Religion and spiritual awareness

When Mum was in hospital after her fall, I discovered that it was necessary to actually request a visit from the hospital chaplin, he wasn't allowed to approach patients, not even to say hello. I asked a nurse if Mum could see him and he told me that"She's not that bad!"
Some one from our own Baptist Church has visited Mum nearly every week since she has been so unwell (several years). I was concerned that the local C. of E. clergy hadn't been able to hold a Communion Service in the Nursing Home with EMI for several months because of the vicar's illness. Surely, elderly frail people who have had some faith in the past will find comfort in observing familiar routines and rituals, even if they've forgotten a lot of things.
Mum was very distressed this morning, (she has vascular dementia) but she noticed a nurse had a rosary and wanted her to say a prayer for her. This did seem to calm her down.
I was interested to read about the fact that some brain damage might actually make people more spiritually aware. Certainly, my mother sees and talks to figments of her imagination who she believes are actually there.
She has forgotten most of the well-known Bible stories that she used to know so well. I think the real person is still there but struggling to remember and communicate with the outside world. This is a weird disease which produces some bizarre behaviour.

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