Many people I know seem to have a relative with either a form of dementia or some type of cancer. When I was younger you seemed more likely that you would have a heart attack or a stroke. This might just be my impression based on very anecdotal evidence but that's the way it looks from where I am sitting.
Someone said to me recently that they thought that it would be better to get cancer than dementia! Now I wouldn't like to have make the choice but I know where they are coming from. The prospect of beating cancer is higher than it ever was compared to the limited availability of treatment for people suffering from dementia. But having seen what friends have had to handle before they "beat" cancer I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
As I look at people who are suffering from dementia I am reminded of the brevity and uncertainty of life. The condition seems to come and develop very quickly. Life is short and wise people value and cherish the important and enduring things of life. You may ask what are they?
Experience in life quickly teaches you that 'things' are not the most important part of life. You can replace 'things' but you cannot replace people and you cannot replace 'you' or as the bible puts it - your soul!
What about people?
The bible teaches that you should nurture and value relationships. You should love your parents, love your spouse, love your children and love your friends. We should be good neighbours, be kind, thought and caring. Jesus taught that 'loving your neighbour as yourself' sits just behind 'loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'. Incidentally if we took this first commandment seriously i.e. loving God with all our heart etc everything else would fall into its proper place. You wouldn't murder, steal, commit adultery, swear etc as all of this, and more, is not acceptable to a God.
What about your soul?
Jesus taught, and the bible teaches in general, that your soul is the most valuable thing that you possess. Listen to the words of Jesus; they are pretty blunt and to the point. 'And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul'. Jesus is saying that all that life can offer cannot be compared to the eternal value of your soul. That why Jesus died! Peter, one of the disciples and apostles of Jesus wrote that those who pray and confess their sins to Jesus and trust Him to save them receive the 'salvation of their souls'. That is something that will outlive everything else in life. It gives hope to the sick and dying and strength to live for something that is of lasting value.
Please note that all quotations in this post are from the Bible