Cheryl Crofoot Knapp Reveals a Journey of Caring for Both Parents With Alzheimer’s Disease in Her Book “Undefeated Innocence.”

Cheryl Crofoot Knapp
Arkansas, United States

There’s an adage about “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.” When I found myself walking a mile in my own shoes, I was unprepared. I thought I broke up with my relationship with Alzheimer’s after my beloved father died of it in 2010. But a few years later, it came knocking at my mama’s door and stole her from us in 2016.

I barely understood Alzheimer’s the first time it staged assault on our family. It was an unwanted guest stealing my dad. My mom tried to handle everything on her own. She hid a psychiatric evaluation that revealed my dad failed the clock test, had a functional IQ of under 90, and needed immediate full-time care. Mom thought she could fix him. She couldn’t help my dad, her depression returned, and I made the difficult decision to place him immediately in a care facility. 

Thirteen months passed. My husband and I were the last ones to hear Dad speak. During our final visit with Dad, we wheeled him to a small gazebo outside of the care facility in the hope that he’d become alert. I spoke to him about Jesus. He lifted his head and looked at me. His cerulean eyes sparkled in the sunshine, and I couldn’t detach myself from his gaze. He proclaimed a robust, “Hi!” Then his head dropped down again. He never spoke again and passed several days later. But at that moment, love won out over the disease. 

Two years later, the unwanted guest made a repeat performance with my mom in the lead role. She was still mobile and enjoyed being sociable, but she needed to move to a residential community that could provide care as the disease progressed. She loved to play cards (until she couldn’t remember how to play the games) and chat with her new girlfriends. A year later, my husband and I moved 800 miles from Minnesota to Arkansas to help her and become her legal guardians. 

Mom was my rock, and I became hers. I turned to the Lord because I believed the Bible addresses everything we experience in life. I called out to Him and said, “So what about Alzheimer’s? Show me. Help me.” 

He led me to study the Beatitudes and fruit of the Spirit in tandem. This study gave me courage to love my mom while making tough decisions and to understand God’s love through this disease. He took my hand and led me through Mom’s journey, including the difficult phone call after Mom punched a pregnant nurse in the stomach, when Mom asked me where she could find her daughters, and when Mom described her teenage years with a guy named Eugene.

It was difficult to find faith-based dementia caregiving resources. I needed an infusion by the Holy Spirit, and I knew that the answers I found through God’s grace needed to be published for others whose lives looked like mine. Those answers are the heart of my book. Mom passed away before Undefeated Innocence was published. But, her hope was that our family story could help other people.

Undefeated Innocence weaves together poignant personal stories with Biblical truth through a study of the Beatitudes and fruit of the Spirit. It answers, “Where is God in Alzheimer’s?” It confirms that caregiving experiences are abnormally normal, and that it’s okay to store toothpaste in an underwear drawer.

Topics include Biblical reconciliation through humility and forgiveness (based on the story of Joseph and my experiences with my sister), stages of grief, mirroring techniques, grace, that sometimes it’s okay to lie, caregiver stress, and moving a 1000-pound bureau (it seemed like it at the time). I discuss a study about how people with dementia forget details of an event but can remember how the event made them feel. Caregiving quality is more important than quantity.

Dementia caregiving can be lonely and thankless. When I uncovered God’s truths about honoring loved ones through the painful sacrifice of caregiving, I knew I needed to share our story. Caregivers lose relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. They lose jobs and finances. They get spit on, cussed at, and are forgotten. 

Undefeated Innocence helps the innocent victims of dementia and caregivers understand that, at least in God’s eyes, every sacrifice has value. Undefeated Innocence offers hope to the caregivers and tells them, “job well done.”


Cheryl Crofoot Knapp lost both parents to Alzheimer’s and is passionate about using her life experiences to encourage caregivers. She’s a devoted Christ follower, caregiving survivor, wife, mother, and Mrs. Minnesota-America 1996. She authored Undefeated Innocence, writes a caregiving column and articles for Broken But Priceless magazine, wrote devotions featured on Christian Broadcasting Network (, participates in Walks to End Alzheimer’s, and is the Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador to U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford. Her book has been featured in podcasts and interviews on TV, radio, and print media. Her ministry is Regifted Grace Ministry. Her book can be purchased at




Twitter:  @KnappCrofoot 



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