Love in the time of Dementia: is care without love enough?
Of course, mention of love in a professional context can also stimulate outrage in terms of the obvious risks and tensions that come with the language of love. As the paradigms of business continue to be applied to the Aged Care enterprise - now being described as a “market” an “industry,” a “sector,” with elderly people viewed as consumers whose choice should sit at the centre of the system, there will inevitably be a difficult tension between the need for safety, professionalism, clinical compliance and financial governance and the apparently, “soft,” “dangerous” and “risky” language of love.
There is a strange irony here in the sense that some argue that the consumer should be at the heart of the system, whilst at the same time avoiding the language of the heart. The idea that love and the enablement of love might be a key indicator for success within an organisation is not something that is easily assimilated into standard business models. And yet, while those of us within the age care sector teach about “professional boundaries” (important as such boundaries can be), the spaces where we encounter truly personalised, life changing care sometimes sit uneasily on the edge of these boundaries as they are lived out by those who offer care that is marked by the core practices of love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Care without love may be “safe” and “efficient” but is it enough?