This letter is in response to the entitled “New Drug to Treat Behavioural Issues in Dementia Patients”, publicised on Aug.18th 2018 at 6pm.
“This report misrepresents both the facts and the real-world experiences of people living with dementia.
The report positions all behaviour, moods and reactions within the frame of a dementia diagnosis and overlooks the fundamental individual right of all people to be able to express emotions as a result of unmet needs.
This serves to generate and perpetuate stereotypical attitudes, a situation that directly contributes to the well documented overuse of medications in response to the expression of human emotion and the reactions that people living with dementia may have in response to challenges, problems and feelings that are a part of everyday life for us all.
This serves to propagate stigma and negative perspectives towards people living with dementia.
Overall, the language used in the report in reference to people living with dementia contributes to the problems that are now widespread. We believe that the opportunity exists to promote better understanding and an increased awareness of non-pharmacological strategies that can be used to help we would be very pleased to provide input that allows a more balanced approach to the reporting of this potentially emotive issue.
We believe that by rethinking dementia we are promoting a more enabling approach to change societal attitudes towards dementia and cease boxing people for the sake of expediency, given it is clear these invalidating and caustic typecasts do not reflect the actuality.
We would appreciate the opportunity to offer an alternate and more compassionate view to the one you have provided in your report and we offer access to international experts and activists who would be happy to be interviewed.
Please see (below) our recently published Letter to the Editor, published in the AJDC, (Australian Journal of Dementia Care, August/September 2018, Vol 7 No 4), outlining our philosophy and ethos.
Leah Bisiani, MHlthSc, Dip Bus, dementia and aged care consultant, RN.1
Kate Swaffer, human rights activist, author, MSc dementia care, PhD candidate
Daniella Greenwood, consultant, author, speaker, activist
Dr Chris Alderman, B Pharm, PhD, FSHP, BCPP, CGP
Dr Al Power, Geriatrician, author, educator
Susan Macaulay, care partner, author, dementia advocate”
If you wish to discuss this with one of the authors, send us an email, specifying which author you would like to contact. I will pass on your request to the requested author. It is also pleasing to know others are joining the party in their own ways, by Challenging tradition: unlocking the DSU, also published in the same issue of the AJDC as the letter below. If we all take small actions together, ultimately we will stop restraining (physically or chemically) those needing assisted care, and stop restratining AND segregating people with dementia.