Well my view is a resounding YES from every angle and why?
Dementia is a bummer of a diagnosis to receive in anyone’s language, but to then be continually faced with negativity can only be bad for how we deal with that diagnosis.
Words matter and are a powerful medium to changing the well being of people. As someone living with dementia I don’t want to read a news article which implies how much of a ‘burden’ we are and how challenging our behaviour is for loved ones. If ‘carers’ and healthcare professionals continually see this type of language, there’s no doubt they will think this as the inevitability of the disease. On the flip side of the coin, if they were to see positive news on ‘How best to understand and support a loved one with dementia”, rather than ‘How best to cope with challenging behaviour’ – wouldn’t this affect the way they think of dementia in a more positive way?
Language is so key in affecting people’s reaction to a situation – both healthcare professionals and public alike. I’ve often spoken about ‘challenging behaviour of staff’ in defence of people with dementia. If staff had more awareness and understanding of why someone is behaving in such a way, that behaviour might not occur in the first place. This could also help loved ones. I’ve said so often
no one gives us a handbook when we’re diagnosed.
This can often lead to loved ones simply not understanding the way a person with dementia is reacting to certain situations or how to deal with it.
Some people have questioned our insistence on promoting that living well and positive language is possible as this detracts from the struggles we experience. My answer to those critics is that we have no control over how our disease progresses, we know it’s not a good outcome, so why dwell on something over which we have no control, why not instead focus on the positives – on how to make this bummer of an existence, as good as we possibly can and focus on living as well as we can.
If people told you consistently that you were stupid, you’d eventually begin to think there might be something in it………why would people with dementia be any different. If we’re consistently seeing the words ‘burden’ and ‘suffering’, we’ll eventually believe it……..
THINK POSITIVE – you’ll be amazed at the power of positive thinking………