This is an important blog written by Dr Shibley Rahman, with commentary also well worth reading. I too am concerned about our communities being called ‘Dementia-friendly’, and as Shibley said recently, there is no way it would be acceptable to say we are becoming ‘Black-friendly’. This is similar to the analogy I use for conferences about people with dementia, without them; there is no way for example, the gay community would accept a conference about their issues organised by heterosexuals, with only heterosexual speakers. As we develop communities and organisations that become more ‘Dementia-aware’, the lived experience for people with dementia will ultimately improve, but we do need to be careful we are not simply selling a sticker or ‘brand’ that merely improves businesses, and not the lived experience.
Published by Shibley Rahman, 9 May 2014.
“After all the whingeing, after talking with some close friends, I wished to offer something constructive.
I am not saying at all that “Dementia Friends” is a cult.
But cults are fascinating phenomena.
And these are authoritarian leadership, exclusivism, isolationism, opposition to independent thinking, and a fear of being ‘disfellowshipped”.
It’s likely that, following the next general election, local authorities will have more of a say in commissioning for whole person care, making the necessary links with leisure, education and housing.
There is considerable ‘competitive advantage’ to be had in marketing from ‘Dementia Friends’.
Throwing forward, I don’t wish to see a situation where government-backed projects stifle innovation or knowledge-sharing, which I feel are interests of the left wing as well as the right wing.
So here it goes.
What’s in a name? A rose by any other name might smell as sweet.
I don’t think you should have to wear your dementia awareness on your lapel, after a bare minimum of sessions. Or you need to go through a standards body to get accreditated in your dementia friendly community.
It’s well known chasing targets and getting that regulatory piece of paper has seen the NHS ‘hitting the target but missing the point’, as the former CEO of NHS England, Sir David Nicholson, put it.”