Thursday, June 11, 2015
Prayer and Dementia: Can Disruptive Behavior Improve? (Research, Video 2:57)
Can disruptive dementia behavior improve through prayer when people pray on behalf of others? A research study that lasted 12 weeks focused on answering this question and reducing disruptive behavior of six late-stage dementia patients. A group of Catholic nuns offered the Lord's Prayer for assigned patients twice a day. A second group of nuns prayed for the entire subject group via the Perpetual Adoration religious devotion. Disruptions in behavior of patients with dementia were documented from three weeks pre-intervention to three weeks post-intervention.
What were the research results of this study on prayer and dementia? The average effect of prayer on behavior resulted in a reduction of disruptive incidents for the group in approximately 27 behavior categories per week. This study suggests “it is feasible to improve the life quality of patients in the terminal phase of their illness through prayer reducing their need to respond to life in a disturbed manner."
Those who are skeptical about the idea of prayer influencing disruptive dementia behavior may be interested in this video featuring Larry Dossey, MD, a former skeptic himself, who explains his own research on how prayer can be a valuable spiritual healing tool for mind, body, medicine practitioners.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.