Dementia and treating us with dignity
Many people think that because they know or have looked someone with dementia, that they understand everything thing about it and know all about its problems.
But this is far from the truth and there are well over 120 variations of this illness, and in each case, the people with the the illness have different symptoms and struggle in different ways to others.
This causes confusion to many people, but as we now know there is nothing straight forward about this illness.
Treat us with the dignity and respect that you would expect from others
By educating and training people to understand the problems people with dementia struggle with on a daily basis, we will then start to see people with dementia being treated with the care and dignity, that you would want from others.
Please don’t patronize us by asking a question and then trying to answer it. Give us the chance to think of the answer, as in many cases we need time to process the information before giving you the answer.
Look at the person and not the dementia.
Remember that many get flustered because unlike you, they simply cannot come straight out with the answer, and if things go wrong we sometimes come out with the wrong words, and that leads to accusations of aggressive behavior and being rude.
I have heard this on many occasions, which makes me think that the accusers really do not have a clue about the basics of this illness.
Treat the person as you would have done before the dementia, we may have an illness, but in many ways we are the same as you, we are all human.
Try to speak clearly, carefully, slowly, and where possible face to face, so that we stand a chance of understanding what you are trying to say.
Please don’t assume that you know all the answers about dementia and what it is like to live with it, but ask us, the people living with Dementia, and we will tell you what our problems are.
Remember that people with strong accents, asking questions can be difficult to understand when you have this illness. As someone who grew up in the North East I now struggle with the accent these days, so if it is difficult for me, think what it is like for others.
Try to speak in a calm voice and not get agitated otherwise it makes those with the illness react in the same way.
Do not discuss our problems with anyone else while we are there as that is hurtful and disrespectful, we have ears and a tongue, and so we can answer back ourselves.
We all develop routines that help us to get through each day, so please don't stop us doing this.