By Jane Verity © dementiacareinternational
Members please log in and click this link 3 Powerful Myths About Dementia for your full version of this article.
Several powerful myths exist about dementia – one in particular can stand in the way of improvement and is harmful to the relationship between you as the supportive partner and the person with dementia. The following myth is important to dispel.
People with Dementia Become Like Children
People with dementia are not children and should never be treated as such.
The danger of thinking that a person with dementia becomes like a child is that it is likely to affect your whole attitude and way of speaking and you end up talking down to the person as if he or she were a child. For example, the person may have done something really great and you want to praise him or her. However, if at the same time you think of the person as a child, you end up saying: Weeelll Dooonnne! Youuu arrre sooo cleeever! You stretch out the words as if you were speaking to…a 3 year old!
The problem with this approach is that the person with dementia is likely to be super sensitive to any future experience where you talk down to him or her and most likely to respond with strong disapproval, even becoming angry at you. This response may upset and confuse you because, after all, you have just given praise and you would expect a better response.
There is a vast difference between children and people with dementia. People with dementia have lived a long life and carry a backpack full of life experience, history and wisdom. A child does not have this rich knowledge or experience.
Remembering these differences can help you keep people with dementia in high regard and maintain your respect for them. In turn, this will affect the way you speak to them. When we communicate, we provide meaning through our tone of voice and body language. What we think is reflected in the emphasis we give our words. So if you give the same praise, using exactly the same words as before, but this time thinking of the person with respect – as an equal – you are likely to say them in quite a different way, ‘Well done! You are so clever! The exact same words – sending a completely different meaning.
Further reading – Click topic
- 3 Powerful Myths about Dementia – Extended Members article – (Discover the one thing people with dementia and children do have in common; learn how we react to a behaviour is how others will interpret that behaviour; plus, how our attitudes & actions can help people with dementia be valued and accepted. We also dispel 2 further powerful myths plus learn the 5 points critical to storing long term memories.)
- What is Dementia? – Public article – (Discover the difference between dementia & Alzheimer’s disease; the many curable & incurable conditions resulting in symptoms of dementia; early signs; why there is hope; & how through a simple shift, we can make a huge difference towards a positive life for both the people we support & ourselves.)
- Stages & Symptoms – Public article – (Read of 4 stages of dementia, examples of how people with dementia compensate for missing memories, their wonderful language, & the meaning behind certain gestures & body language.)
- How to Help People with Dementia Improve – Extended Members article – Jane Verity (Learn the first step to assisting a person with dementia to improve; how our focus determines the experience; discover how beliefs are maintained; learn how our brain operates a clever filtering system plus more on NLP.)
- The Nun Study – Public article/Extended Members article – Jane Verity (Read Dr. David Snowdon’s amazing research findings showing some of the participating nuns – at autopsy – revealed brains riddled with the plaques & tangles of Alzheimer’s disease, yet showed no symptoms of dementia.)