Psalm 23 with dementia in mind
Updated: Jan 22
A Scottish carer has written to me, sharing this beautiful version of Psalm 23 which speaks to those living with dementia:
The Lord is my care-giver
He understands my needs
When my mind is confused
and I am anxious
He is there beside me;
He brings me peace.
Though my mind and body grow frail
I do not fear the darkness
for the light of His presence comforts me.
He sends moments of clarity and enjoyment
that fill me with delight.
He enters the dark recesses of my mind
where others cannot reach.
Surely his goodness and mercy travel with me
and one day I will awake with Him
and all will be right.
Helen Pike from Livingston, West Lothian, wrote these words long before she had personal experience of caring for someone with dementia. Years ago she had been asked by members of her local church to give a message or reflection to those with caring responsibilities. She was well equipped to do so, having spent time with groups in residential and day care.
Confused and anxious
'I never thought my own caring situation would arise some years later,' writes Helen. Her husband, who was progressing through various stages of dementia, went on to have a debilitating stroke. 'He was not able to come home, but needed full time nursing care,' she says.
'I wrote this poem or psalm loosely based on the rhythm of Psalm 23. It was particularly directed at one lady whose mother was confused and anxious as her dementia progressed. Having worked with dementia residents, I tried to put myself into the mind of someone who was thus afflicted.'
What she composed, inspired by the psalms of old, has been a help to her own husband as his disease has advanced and his stroke has made life even more difficult. 'I have a copy of this poem posted up in his room and from time to time read it to him and reflect on the comforting assurance it promises. How the Lord prepared me for this time and enabled me to understand and express the inner turmoil of someone with dementia.'
Helen hopes what she has written may prove of comfort to someone else in a similar situation or, indeed, care workers who try to understand what a person living with dementia experiences but is incapable of expressing.