Welcome to the first of my seven ‘mini’ blogs for UK Dementia Awareness Week 2013. They are all themed around talking about dementia, exploring different aspects of conversation from the point of view of people who are living with dementia, carers and families.
Day 1 – The truth about dementia
There are so many misconceptions about dementia. It’s a disease of the old. Developing dementia means your life is over. People with dementia are worthless to society. People with dementia want sympathy.
I believe that we do everyone living with dementia (over 800,000 people in the UK alone) a great disservice every time we talk about dementia inaccurately. Every time we assume it only affects people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s we ignore the people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s with dementia (and those even younger). Every time we use language like ‘sufferers’ and ‘victims’ we disable people with dementia. Every time we think that the answer to dementia is to lock people away and ignore them. Every time we offer patronising sympathy rather than positive support.
The truth about dementia is that it’s the greatest mixed bag of experiences and emotions that you will probably ever encounter, whether you are the person living with it or their family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or old school mates. When someone develops dementia it affects everyone in the network around them, a network that has built up over their lifetime, however long or short that has been.
More people than ever before now know someone with dementia, love someone with dementia and want the best for that person. So let’s talk about dementia. Together we have a powerful voice. Alone we are not always heard.
Next post on 20 May 2013.