The Healing of Alzheimer's

By Herman Riffel

One of the saddest statements made in medical circles is THERE IS NO CURE FOR ALZHEIMER’S. It is made with great insistence, even saying, “Don’t get your hopes up!” Yet at great cost research is undertaken to find a cure. Would it not at least be better to say, “We have not yet found a medical cure for Alzheimer’s.”? The problem is that the medical cure that is sought does not include the spiritual realm.

Furthermore it is implied that the restoration of memory will be the cure for the disease. However we remember the elderly who had memory loss, which was then called senility. These people would not remember details, would tell the same story over again and again, but they were harmless. Care needed to be given lest they forget to turn off the stove, or put on a strange wardrobe, or perhaps wander away, but usually they could be kept at home with their families. They had memory loss, but Alzheimer’s has another dimension beyond simple forgetfulness or disorientation.

This is the story of my own experience with the disease. My wonderful wife, Lillie, had a brother and sister who died with Alzheimer’s. About 20 years ago Lillie began to lose memory. However she was still traveling with me around the world and participating in our seminars. About five years ago there was a decided change. Though she is such a sweet person, in fact, that was her primary characteristic, she began to resist eating her food, be adamant about not wanting to put on her clothes, or do almost anything at any time. For example, One day we went for a walk and suddenly she insisted that she was going another way, which was not appropriate at the time. When these periods of resistance would come over Lillie, no persuasion would change her mind. Physical pressure would only increase the resistance. What was I to do?

As I spoke with Lillie’s doctors, and researched Alzheimer’s, I found that during the course of Alzheimer’s; this resistance usually turns into rebellion and then violence. This happens to good people, who would never act in such a way in normal life. When the resistance reaches the stage of violence, caretakers can no longer take care of the patient. They are forced to put the patient into an institution for care by others. This is the sad and costly part, usually over one hundred dollars per day, which quickly exhausts the savings of a lifetime. Of even more consequence is the feeling of hopelessness and loss experienced by those who have taken such care of their beloved one.

This resistance in Lillie never reached the violent stage, due I believe to the insight about the spiritual dimensions of the resistance that I received and acted upon. The resistance was not a matter of Lillie not feeling like doing the things that I suggested, but rather a stiff refusal that would come and go. In fact, in an earlier period after an expression of such resistance when Lillie had come out of it, I told her what she had done, and she was mortified. Consciously she would not think of doing such a thing. It was then that I took up the battle against the “resistance” aspect of the disease. I recognized that it had a spiritual dimension and the learning began. I will explain this process in the next section, but will say that I learned to overcome the resistance, step by step, until it is entirely gone—vanished!!


When we engage in the battle to overcome the resistance that is common to Alzheimer’s we enter the spiritual domain. That domain has both the dark and the light side. In this case the dark side is attacking the person with the disease and someone must engage the side of light to overcome the dark. The spiritual realm has strict rules, as does also the dark realm. In order to enter the spiritual realm one must be in tune with Jesus, who overcame the dark domain on the cross. The helper must be open to let the Spirit of God lead and direct him and follow the pattern set in the Scriptures. This pattern is one of asking God for the next steps, for things that can be believed and acted upon. It also requires listening with the spirit, and a willingness to respond to God’s leading.

As I prayed the Lord gave me discernment that the resistance was not physical or emotional, it was spiritual. The enemy was attacking my wife Lillie in a spiritual battle. I had to exercise discernment, which is a gift of the Spirit for all believers to discern the light from the darkness, and it can be exercised in faith. I discerned that this “resistance” spirit was a demonic attack against my wife. Then the Lord said to enlarge my prayer, for He wanted to give healing not only for her but also for many others who are suffering from this disease. Whenever the resistance would express itself, I would take the authority that Jesus gave to his disciples, the “authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1).

When I took that authority I would pray and believe God for His power to break the power of the enemy. I would not reason, argue or force Lillie in any way, but simply stand in faith. Sometimes the resistance would be broken in a few minutes; sometimes it would take an hour. On one occasion she insisted in going to bed with her clothes on, but I would not allow that and laid down on the bed myself. On that occasion she even pleaded with me, asking why I was doing that to her. But I recognized, by discernment, that it was not Lillie speaking, but the voice of the enemy. It took four hours until finally the resistance broke, and she, like always on those occasions, broke out in a big smile, thanked me for praying for her and cooperated fully with me. That was clear proof that it was a demonic attack and could be recognized by discernment and overcome by taking authority in the name of Jesus.

The psychiatrist saw that I had learned how to overcome the resistance, and that my method was valid, though in the medical and psychological field it had not been done. I found however, that the attacks reoccurred almost daily and I had to discern and exercise authority over them repeatedly. I did not understand why the enemy could not be cast out permanently. However it did finally happen, for suddenly all the resistance was gone completely. It was wonderful, but I did not understand why it happened. Then I read something in Francis Frangipane’s book,referring to the powers of this dark world noted in Ephesians 6:12, that Powers are not ‘cast out’, they are displaced in the spirit-realm by the fullness of the reign of Christ in the church and through the intercessory warfare of the saints in the region” (See "The Three Battlegrounds" in the Glossary under Powers.) That was the answer. I had been almost alone in my battle formerly, but when I came to Frederick, Maryland a group of saints did spiritual warfare in behalf of Lillie and that broke the power completely, by displacing the power of resistance through the reign of Christ within the region.

The change is drastic. Lillie is in an Alzheimer’s facility now because she broke her hip and I can no longer care for her in our home. Fortunately, she is just across the street from our condominium, so we spend time together daily. Though Lillie’s memory is still short she recognizes me and greets me with a big smile when I come to visit her daily. We have a wonderful time together. I tell her a story from the Bible, which prepares her for the next big step that God is leading us into. We pray believingly, sing, and talk and laugh. It is like a honeymoon—quite in contrast to the latter days for most Alzheimer patients, and I believe there is more healing yet to come.

"An uninterpreted dream is like a letter unread"
copyright © 2011, Bruce Saunders