"I SEE YOU"
My PhD research, that I present, explores the stories of people without dementia who make meaningful connections with people with advanced dementia who no longer use words to communicate.
Despite an increasing focus on the care of the whole person with dementia, dehumanising narratives about people with dementia continue to circulate in society. These narratives position people with dementia as those whose humanity is disappearing, that they are "not all there" (Swaffer, 2014, p711), or as a burden to their families and society.Narratives like this are dangerous. They can lead to a perception that as a person's dementia advances, they will no longer be seen or known, or that they no longer belong to society. This can lead to social isolation and poor care. Dehumanising narratives risk influencing the way that some people think about how dementia should be treated, "including medically assisted death" (Johnstone, 2011, p390)
I present the stories from research findings that trouble and counter dehumanising narratives. They communicate a vital message that positions people with advanced dementia as those who are visible, loved and valued human beings who continue to belong to society and are as fully human as those without dementia.