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?!