The many things that can surprise a person after being diagnosed with dementia are vast, but perhaps the two most interesting and telling (especially of society as a whole) is the proper and FULL inclusion of people with dementia, and being treated as if we are ‘not all there’.
Yes, I am diagnosed with dementia, but, I am still all here, and still very much a human being with feelings and desires, just like anyone else.
When I was interviewed a few months ago now, prior to the SBS television program Insight program Dancing with dementia, the final question I was asked by one of the producers was: What has surprised me the most since being diagnosed with dementia?
Sadly, it only took about 2 seconds to answer this question, and I answered by saying: the one thing that has surprised me the most is man/woman’s inhumanity to animals and each other, including human beings diagnosed with dementia…
Why have we been systematically locked away and/or ignored as if we are not human beings once we are diagnosed with dementia? Why are we labelled with stigmatising and offensive labels such as wandering?
I have often said I have been treated as “no longer human”… and this still surprises me.
When vile journalists write vile articles like the journalist [sic] Mr Jay from the AFR did recently, and others claim we cannot possibly have dementia if we are still functioning at all, it simply exacerbates the very great challenges of improving perceptions, and care of people with dementia.
Regarding the article “Dementia troublemakers” in the Australian Financial Review, the update is that I am still waiting, as Chair of DAI, for a PUBLIC APOLOGY from the Editor in Chief, AND a RETRACTION of the article.
THEIR DESPICABLE DEPICTION OF A SUB CATEGORY PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA, as mad and bad, and as feral is more than insulting. A sub category, if we are sub-human??!! Really?
Their article, and their attitude and lack of appropriate response, simply goes to show how far we still have to go as far as equality and changing the stigma and discrimination towards people with dementia.