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Confronting the carer of a Dementia sufferer. - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

Confronting the carer of a Dementia sufferer.

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
81 posts
Oh dear! First of all, I agree with you, Crocus, that some words are now past praying for, past restoring. But tinkering with existing words and continually coming up with new euphemisms is essentially a time-wasting cosmetic exercise. It is like putting a nice new bandage on a deep and festering wound without cleaning and treating the injury itself. In a short while, the new bandage will be as soaked with blood and pus as its predecessor, and will have to be discarded in its turn. Better to concentrate first on healing the wound before starting to fuss about prettifying the dressing. Thought and work have to be put into trying to combat ignorance and prejudice — even though, as you say, we can never be wholly successful — rather than wasting time making naïve new linguistic rules and definitions that are in any case doomed to be transient. The 'brain-storming' example is unbelievably daft and does a lot more harm than good. That kind of silliness is so blatant that it brings the whole subject into disrepute.

Tristsa, Forgive me if Im wrong here, but it seems that we agree on the process that makes words offensive and we agree that it would be better to tackle the prejudice that makes these (often merely descriptive) words offensive and that simply substituting new words will taint these new ones with the same prejudice. I think the difference between us, though, is that you wish to retain and reclaim the original words by tackling the prejudice and I feel that until the prejudice is resolved there will be no option but to keep changing the terminology. To use your illustration - heal the festering wound, but until it is healed the bandages must be changed once they become soiled.
My analogy played right into your hands! Damn! Image

I think various compromises are unavoidable, and I accept fully that some words can never be reinstated. I just think that the focus on changing terminology is essentially a red herring because many people come to regard it as a way of improving perceptions in itself. Call geriatric patients 'elderly' instead (or 'seniors') and everyone will start treating them with new respect. Forbid the use of the offensive 'n-word', and everyone will start treating their black neighbours with courtesy. We all know it doesn't work that way. It is as though (returning to my slightly dented analogy) changing the dressing were regarded as the central means of treating the wound, rather than an ancillary element in the whole process. And because there are so many areas of prejudice and bigotry, we should not spend too much time faffing around with terminology.

A fascinating philosophical discussion ladies and thank you so much for placing a finer focus on the semantic chasms which can open up in the face of our efforts to bring about clarity in communication.
As Oscar Wilde famously observed,' the truth is seldom pure, and rarely simple'.

Anyhow, meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm sitting in front of this computer in the knowledge that I have more requests to write the email to the gentleman carer who has a wife with Alzheimers. The committee has expressed concern that we will lose new members if the disruption continues; I have heard that the gentleman in question, had been speaking at two events last week, and arranged to have a carer sit with his wife, and the Secretary tells me she is annoyed because he said 'it would be easier to leave his wife at home, but he chose to bring her to our meeting. Maybe some of you might make deductions from this?

So ladies and gentlemen of the forum who have kindly contributed your views on this dilemma, I will proceed to write, a kind, sympathetic email which will seek to express clearly all the necessary factors around the various rights in this situation and may the powers of reason and goodwill prevail against those of misguided passion and prejudice.

With kind regards to you all, Irene
Out of curiosity, I clicked on your web site thingy. As I though, quote," It is often the first impression which counts." unquote.
Shame you never took your own societies advice. And yes, I accept in the heat of the moment we all make mistakes... hands up who hasn't! Nope, I don't see any hands.

Opps, hang on a minute, your's went up.

Poor old Eliza Bennett and Darcy; they must be turning in their fictional graves that you're using them as an example of you're considered kindness and compassion. I do believe Eliza Bennett argued with her soon to be Aunty in Law about "Polluting the shades of Pemberley."

I still hope to god that whatever committees my mum, dad and me ever have to appear before that you, or someone like you, isn't there.
Good luck with your email... I honour the memory of those fire fighters huddled round a fire who started your group. I bet they're turning in their graves too.
Irene, has there been a friendly chat with this man before any such email. No matter how you dress it up, the typed word can come across as cold. Talking to him face to face, showing him you all care, surely that is the better option. Personal touch has to be kinder??
everyone's welcome
From the website. Apparently not the case.
Irene, I agree in principle with Rosemary, but I am inferring from your earlier posts that many attempts have already been made to make the member aware that other members of the society are not happy, and would prefer him to come alone to meetings. You imply that you have been asked to put the concerns in writing because informal, spoken approaches have so far had no effect. But the very fact that you posted your original enquiry, which has generated so much hurt and angry debate, suggests to me that the society, or specifically the committee, has not yet reached a proper conclusion about the problem, and therefore that putting anything in writing at this stage would be most unwise and unprofessional.

A number of procedural points occur to me. The committee needs to check exactly what powers of suspension or exclusion they hold under the society's constitution (for example, any set of rules will normally include an article stating that an individual's membership will lapse automatically if he persistently fails to pay his subscription), and they need to agree formally, by means of a motion voted on in committee, precisely what sanctions they intend to impose on the member if he remains impervious to informal approaches. It can help to imagine a different scenario to which the same principles might apply: for example, what action would your society take if a member turned up roaring drunk and disorderly on a single occasion? And what if he did so habitually?

If the offending member (let's call him 'A') ignores the request not to bring his wife along to meetings, what action is the society prepared to take? Are you prepared to admit A. any and every time he turns up alone, but to refuse him admittance whenever he arrives with his spouse? Have you discussed such temporary exclusion and also permanent expulsion for habitual infringement of the rules, and the exact grounds that would be quoted for these actions? They would probably be something like 'failing to uphold the purposes of the group', or 'failing to abide by the committee's rules and resolutions'. All of this needs to be openly and dispassionately discussed and conclusions reached and minuted.

Once a formal, minuted decision has been taken in committee about the appropriate action in this case, that is the moment for a written warning, and furthermore, it should not be an e-mail from a committee member: e-mails are still inappropriate for formal correspondence. It should be a formal letter, on printed letterhead, signed by the Chairman and ideally more than one additional officer of the society. It should spell out the reasons for the decision (the fact that the presence of the afflicted lady is deemed to undermine the basic purpose of meetings, for the following reasons, and that so-and-so many members have complained, so-and-so many members have left the society citing this problem as their main reason...), and it should state that the committee has agreed that since conversational approaches have proved ineffective, more formal action is required.

That's the course of action I would envisage if I were the Chairman. And I will say again that, bearing in mind the nature of the problem and the (presumably) long membership of A., my own recommendation if I were chairing the meeting would be that no formal action of this kind be taken just yet, but that the society should try to live with the situation for a while longer. I don't think you have told us how long it has been going on. Six months? A year? Five years?

To be honest, leaving aside all the emotional stuff, I don't think this problem has been thought through in a rational manner.

I'm busy helping a relative who has just been discharged from hospital so just a brief post. I was appalled by the caustic sarcasm of the lady or man called Sajegar. Why exactly would you object to someone "like me" being on a committee that makes judgements about your care situations. the same values that Jane Austen promoted in her quant old fashionned stories are equally valid today are they not? I am posting about relative rights in this situation.

Again Rosemary thank for your kind replies. And Charles I am disappointed that a Moderator has nothing more substantive to say about the issues in this case. The implication in our website is to extend welcome to anyone in support of our aims and objectives. As I said before many members are objecting about not being able to put those aims into practice.

Don't they have a voice too?
everyone's welcome
From the website. Apparently not the case.
To be fair, Charles, what that usually means is that there is no election procedure to go through before one becomes a member. There are many societies which one cannot join simply by turning up and handing over a joining fee and subscription: one has to be proposed by (usually) a minimum number of existing members, one's qualifications and suitability for membership are set out, and one's application is then put to a ballot of members, sometimes with quite a high bar set for voting numbers, e.g. a minimum of four 'yes' votes to each 'no'. This kind of voting process was traditionally carried out using coloured balls and sealed wooden ballot boxes, and gave rise to the expression 'blackballing' someone. But I digress.

This Speakers' Circle is saying that it is not that kind of society, but the kind that anyone can join if they are interested in its aims and willing to abide by its rules.

81 posts