You may have seen this article (or one in a different newspaper) recently about how many people living with dementia in care homes are being illegally restrained. I try not to read articles too often as they upset me and I get rather cross about the lack of knowledge and understanding from the so called professionals.
The horror stories we hear really do hack me off, for many different reasons. Firstly for the scum bags who clearly went into the caring profession for the wrong reasons and become neglectful and abusive. Secondly for the lack of training given to so many carers, leaving them feeling less able to cope with the difficulties that something like dementia can bring. Thirdly for the wording used, constantly so much negativity is thrown out, it is impossible not to feel irate after reading such articles. Fourthly, because I know that there are some truly great care homes out there, with truly great carers who give a damn about each and every one the individuals they assist. And that is the point. They see the people they help as individuals, not as bed fillers, or nuisances, or illnesses, or trouble makers, or old people on their way out. Individuals, with a back story, one they may well be willing to share if you take the time to listen.
The reason people with dementia can get aggressive, or harmful to themselves or others is not because they find it amusing, or because they want to make people’s lives harder. But because they are struggling inside their mind. I keep seeing a picture on twitter, they are not being difficult, they are having a difficult time.
So many cases that this article referred to could be prevented by simply taking some time to be empathetic, finding out what is causing the difficult behaviours and trying to eliminate that. Just one afternoons training for all nursing and caring staff highlighting what dementia really is, could help them with what must be a difficult stressful job anyway. Being underequipped or misinformed won’t help anyone.