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Love in the time of dementia: is care without love enough?

Presentation Overview
It is a strange thing when talking about love in the context of dementia care is considered to be a strange thing to do. Indeed some may say that it is an outrage that in a time where person centred care is so much to the forefront, no one wants to talk about love despite the fact that it is something that most if not all of us place at the centre of our lives.

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?
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