With Liz Wardell, Signature Head of Dementia
I was recently asked to take part in a discussion about the future of Dementia care with Care Home Professional magazine. Reflecting on this I thought we should have started with language. The term Dementia in itself can be demeaning considering it is an umbrella term for a multitude of different types of Dementia/cognitive impairment. However, as it is internationally recognised, for the time being it remains.
Other terminologies that have negative connotations include “dementia care” rather than “support” and “dementia residents” instead of “people who live with dementia”. Unfortunately, like most conditions that affect brain function people are often labelled or judged on their capabilities and/or behaviours often resulting in people with Dementia being talked down to, ignored or treated like infants. Person centred care is a term widely used but often with little substance due to the task orientated culture which still exists in abundance within much of the care industry. Considering an ageing population and Dementia set to rise in parallel to this, the real need for the future in supporting people with Dementia is that of education. Education of all not just healthcare workers.
It is human nature to avoid things you don’t understand and fear what you don’t know. This is why it is important that everyone understands that people with Dementia are still people who should have a purpose, be respected, valued and included as far as they are physically and mentally able to do so. They should not be feared just because they may exhibit comprehension and communication difficulties. It is those without Dementia that need to find the most effective ways of overcoming these challenges.
Once education and understanding increase undoubtedly the quality of support will improve. Other factors such as technological advances will always help and aid and enable in many ways just as music and various other art-based therapies do today but ultimately there is no substitute for a caring, supportive and trusted relationship.
Signature at Wandsworth Common, opening to residents in March 2020, will offer the very best in person-centred care and dementia support. We would love to show you how we can help you or a loved one. You can book a visit to see our beautiful new care home in Wandsworth here.