The blog A Manifesto For Radical Inclusion written by Dr Al Power on ChangingAging has a taste of Richard Taylor in it. The gloves are no longer hanging on the wall of the gym, they are coming off, all around the world.
As Al mentioned last week, Richard once sent him an email saying, “Welcome. I’ve been waiting for you.” I can only borrow these wise words, “Al, welcome. I’ve been waiting for you too.”
In fact, I’ve been waiting for everyone who cares about people with dementia to realise that inclusion is not at all radical, it is our most basic of human rights.
Al wrote in his blog last week, “Richard’s voice will continue to speak in a thousand different ways, in the voices of those whose lives he touched.” This is indeed the truth and legacy of this great and wonderful man many of us had the privilege to know and call a friend, and although many of my private emails to Richard also started with ‘hello’, it will be one of my missives from here on.
Many of the things written in Dr Power’s article I have been advocating for over six years, and others living with dementia have been advocating for them for much longer. Richard was one of the early advocates, along with Christine Bryden and Peter Ashley.
Those of us following in their footsteps have still got a great deal to do, as it seems, as if being inclusive of people with dementia is still seen as radical, it seems no-one has been listening.
Perhaps it is giving up the position of power people without dementia have had over people with dementia for so long is what is going to be the hardest to shake.
The notion that what people with dementia experience, is in fact, often NOT what others have been assuming, and telling the world it is like, is obviously ruffling lots of feathers.
There are a few friends I have made along the road of this wild ride called dementia, and I can see a few whose gloves been placed on firmly and fairly since Richard Taylors death, and together, perhaps after all, we will change the world for people with dementia.
At least, for now, I have a renewed hope and a newly inspired determination to keep going.