EVERYONE HAS HEARD THE WORD DEMENTIA, BUT THE TROUBLE IS, NOT MANY UNDERSTAND IT ! …….”INCLUDING ME AND MY FAMILY BEFORE I WAS DIAGNOSED,
BUT, WITH UNDERSTANDING, FEAR CAN BE REDUCED,
ITS THE UNKNOWN ONE FEARS THE MOST !
THAT’S WHY A DEMENTIA FRIENDLY COMMUNITY SHOULD BE BASED FIRSTLY, ON EDUCATION,
EDUCATION WHICH SHOULD START IN SCHOOLS SO NO MORE
MIS-UNDERSTANDING AND STIGMA ABOUT THE ILLNESS WOULD THEN EXIST, CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE AND AN IMPORTANT ASSET, THEY SHOULDN’T BE LEFT OUT OF A DEMENTIA FRIENDLY COMMUNITY.
THEN START TO EDUCATE THE SHOPS AND BUSINESSES, THE BANKS AND POST OFFICES, NOT JUST THE OWNERS BUT ALL THE STAFF,
THEN THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT STAFF, TRAINS, TAXIES AND BUSES !
IT IS EASIER TO START WITH THE SMALLER, INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES, THEN THE LARGER ONES, THE CORPORATE MULTI-NATIONALS WILL FOLOW TOO.
MOST PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA LOSE THE CONFIDENCE TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES ONCE DIAGNOSED……….I KNOW I DID !
THEN GO INTO THE CARE HOMES, THE NURSING HOMES, SURGERIES AND HOSPITALS, EDUCATE ALL !
THEN THE PUBLIC……… BECAUSE WITH EDUCATION COMES UNDERSTANDING,
WITH UNDERSTANDING COMES SUPPORT AND CARING
KNOWLEDGE IS A POWERFUL TOOL !!
THEN THE RESCUE SERVICES, THE POLICE, AND COUNCILS,
WORKING EVER UPWARDS AND OUTWARDS.
THEN COMES CHANGES TO THE ENVIRONMENT,
WORKING WITH THE ARCHITECTS, ESTATE MANAGERS AND THE BUILDERS.
LOOKING AT THINGS LIKE SIGNAGE, LIGHTING AND LIVING ACCESSORIES,
ALSO THINGS LIKE MARKING STEPS, ESCALATORS AND PAVEMENT EDGES ETC,
ALL THE THINGS THAT CAN SUPPORT SOMEONE AND GIVE THEM CONFIDENCE WITHOUT TAKING THEIR DIGNITY AWAY
A BIG THING NEEDED IS INCLUSION, PLEASE ASK US WHAT WE NEED, WHAT WE WANT, IT SHOULD BE NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US !
WE ARE, AFTER ALL, THE EXPERTS IN LIVING WITH DEMENTIA, WE ARE THE EXPERTS BY EXPERIENCE,
US, AND OUR CARERS, AND FAMILY MEMBERS.
YOU HAVE A WEALTH OF INFORMATION BETWEEN US !
PLEASE DONT FORGET THAT DEMENTIA IS A DISABILITY,
A DISABILITY YOU CANT ALWAYS SEE, THERE ISNT A LABEL
SO IF YOU GET IT RIGHT FOR THE PERSON WITH DEMENTIA THEN YOU GET IT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE !
ITS ABOUT PUTTING COMMUNITY SPIRIT BACK, SOMETHING THAT CAN BE SADLY LACKING, IN LOTS OF PLACES THESE DAYS.
ALL THESE THINGS ARE WHAT IS NEEDED TO MAKE GOOD PLACE FOR SOMEONE WITH DEMENTIA,
DEMENTIA FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES SHOULD BE ABLE TO SUPPORT EVERYONE AT ALL AGES AND AT ALL STAGES OF THE ILLNESS,
MAINTAINING THEIR CONFIDENCE AND BOOSTING ONE’S ABILITY TO MANAGE THEIR EVERY DAY LIFE
Someone told me about this poem the other day, found and read it , very potent and very true, thanks Steve McG
What do you see, nurse, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far away eyes.
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try?”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will.
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill,
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I use at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide, and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old woman and nature is cruel,
‘Tis just to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman, look closer – see ME!!