Humanity, PERMA Principles and Dementia

Humanity simply means the qualities or characteristics considered as a whole to be characteristic of human beings; kindness, charity, sympathy or compassion. People with dementia too often find that people without dementia do not offer them humanity; they instead seem to be filled with a lack of humanity, caused by a lack of education and understanding, and also because of the stigma and prejudice still in the community for people with dementia. I

have one friend who wrote to me some time ago, and said this; I just don’t want to think of you as “Kate, with dementia”. I want to think of you as “Kate – the way I find you each day”. This is in perfect harmony with my blog Does the word disability increase disAbility? (Thank you SP x). As the small number of voices from around the world of people living with a diagnosis of dementia, speak out about what is best for them, it will take more people with an attitude expressed like the one above for policy makers and the general community to take any notice of us.

I’m feeling fragile today as this blog has taken me days to get this far, and writing them at all is definitely getting more challenging. Finding a topic or idea that then fills my head with enough words to write something of value (to me) is taking longer, paddling more like the swan on a lake chasing her babies away from trouble, than the one enjoying the sunshine and tranquility of sitting, untroubled, on the lake.

My focus is based on the PERMA Principles:  Positive emotion, Engagement, positive Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment. I have been using these principles long before Dr Martin Seligman termed the phrase, just not in his words. I search for more meaning in my daily life and activities, and am working on remaining as positively engaged as possible as I reach for ways to hinder the progress of dementia.

I may not succeed in stopping it, but the positive feelings I continue to harbor help me stay motivated and as happy as I can possibly be, given the circumstances. In the search for my own humanity, I have found reaching out to others through volunteering has also been paramount to my own emotional health, as the power of seeing the reality that there is always someone worse off than me is empowering and definitely keeps things in proper perspective.

I do not want dementia to become the Amway of my life, and so getting involved in other things which help with this is imperative. Dementia is in my face every day anyway, so to have other causes to be involved in also works to support my ability to remain positive. This blog is definitely a rambling ride into the inner recesses of my mind today, but hey, at least if I’ve forgotten what I was thinking tonight or tomorrow, I can visit here and read it! One day recently, my dear husband dropped me home from an appointment, then three hours later he came home from work and asked me what I’d been doing since he’d seen me last.

I had no idea then, and as there is nothing in my diary or on my blog, I have no idea now. I guess it must have been either completely inane or simply unmemorable?!

13 thoughts on “Humanity, PERMA Principles and Dementia

  1. Pingback: #LivingBeyondDementia – Living Beyond Dementia™

  2. Hi dear Kate,
    Simply amazing the way you are inspiring others with your journey. Thanks for sharing and giving me the opportunity to get a closer encounter with your experiences, many of my clients are not able to express theirs. You are giving me a great gift and more desire to continue in search for a better delivery service to my clients.

    • Thank you Gilda. I received an email from a friend who advocates for people with dementia as a speaker (her mum and a few other amily members have or had dementia) and she gave me the title of ‘Ad-vo-Kate’ which I thought was gorgeous! We need more people with dementia to speak up, and I believe early diagnosis is the key to helping this happen as if a delayed diagnosis, then we may not be as able to advocate for ourselves. Keep up your good work.

  3. Hi Kate, your latest blog has finally given me cause to comment how much your daily blog posts inspire me in my practice (as Wellbeing and Dementia Support Coordinator with a large community and residential care provider) and Occupational Therapist and in my study (Masters of Aging).
    Every one of your blogs expresses something really important, touches me, and helps my learning and understanding and growth as a human being. Your words are invaluable! thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for sharing with me Wendy; it is days like today I need encouragement to keep writing and putting in the effort to keep trying to push the symptoms into the background. 😉

  4. Here I am Kate. Popped up again. I have a grandaughter, that was born in the full “dementia state” she is now 14yrs. she has never walked, talked, been able to eat through her mouth (tube in stomach) hips and bones all out of whack due to no muscles to keep them in palce My son has lived your PERMA principles out every day of his life, amidst his successful work place ,his marriage, with his two sons.

    An amzing human being living out these gifts in his every day life without ever a negative attiitude, or self pity. whenever I attempt to complain about what I have been given to live out the remaining given of my life,due to journey into Dementia.

    I quickly thank god that mine is a journey into it.. And I can “seize” my every day until Im in that place. Losing ones indepence, friends, family? who dont share the same understanding. I can accept gracefully.. as my life and world is beautiful, compared with what my son has had to endure and PERMA has been his survivial kit. and when I visit my grandaughter in her hospital times and see the heartache of parents enduring such intense suffering with children similar to our Rebekah… I leave with a thankful heart that my world is all okay.. tis only me that has a difficult journey not the suffering of a child…Dementia is a journey..into it that state.. what we lose of ourselves along that journey we still can enjoy on a level some joy’s along the trip. But we have to make them happen.. there is a beautiful world out there for us to enjoy whilst we can…. and do our part ot make others journey easier also. MY mission… we all have them.. were travelling presently from WA to NSW, Just entered victoria now soon back in NSW.. did the teleconferenc parked on the side of the Rd in Sthe Australia 🙂 last night in Renmark by that beautiful Murray river Make yourself HAPPY girl and enjoy your world arround and “OUT there” From the “annoying” one Carol x

    • Annoying is very the LAST word I would use for you my dear friend! Your own loved ones certainly have a lot to ‘live’ with too, and to remain positive is a credit to them and to you. Take care, and enjoy your travels. xo

  5. You would be amazed how important you are to an enormous amount of people. Not people who are interested with Dementia, but the people whose lives you affect with your kindness and generosity. I know that you are finding harder to function at the moment but I appreciate you for the loving, kind and generous person you are.

The only thing missing in this global conversation is YOUR voice... Thank you.

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