Ok, so maybe I’ve got it wrong (again or still!), but surely focusing on what people without dementia think dementia might be like and spending vast amounts of money on virtual reality products to show more people without dementia what it is like for us seems a little off base to me. One or two consumers, in the early stages of dementia cannot possibly know what it is like for the many with advanced symptoms of dementia either. Selling or promoting a product totally based on the deficits, simply to help someone be kinder, is not really that helpful for people with dementia. Anyway, for now, this is my current thinking on the topic.
I have been told some of the data being collected from the Virtual Reality tours and gadgets around the world indicates they ‘improve care’ of people in residential settings, so that is definitely a positive. But if we need to spend millions on technology to produce what people without dementia think it is like in our world, simply to make people provide kinder more compassionate care (paid or unpaid care partners), there must be something wrong with the training in the first place.
What I’d really like to see more of are videos and articles written from a human rights and disability support perspective, with practical ideas and strategies on HOW TO BETTER SUPPORT the disABILITIES of people with dementia, with a positive focus, rather than a deficit based one. This video may have helped the journalist feel more kindly towards people with dementia, but will it impact the lives of the 50 million of us living with it today? Personally, I very much doubt it.
By the way, kindness cannot be accused of being an unworthy outcome, but if that is the only outcome, then I doubt it is enough to justify the vast amounts of money being spent on virtual dementia worlds, nor that it really makes a difference to the lives of people with dementia vastly different in the institutions into which they are locked away on.
But if people working in dementia aren’t already proving kindness based care, they should not be working there. Of course, I have no doubt I’ll get feedback suggesting I should not be so negative about this new virtual world being showcased around the world, and winning people without dementia all sorts of awards, but there you go, I’ve done it again. I’m always prepared to speak from my heart. The DFC initiatives and campaigns seem to be in the same well-funded boat…
Read the latest on kindness here: https://www.dignityhealth.org/-/media/cm/media/documents/PDFs/The-Healing-Power-of-Kindness.ashx?la=en