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What if I couldn’t see anymore? What if I was unable to walk anymore? What if I couldn’t hear anymore? How would I feel and what would I do?
Have you ever had those thoughts? I have , several times. In my job I see people with all forms of disabilities and I often think what it must be ;like to be in their position.
Going back some years I remember being placed in a wheelchair for a period of time during the day and told to get on with me daily routine. Simple tasks like going to the kitchen for a drink became monumental and when I wanted to go to the toilet , well, that was something else. I simply got out of the chair to do what I would normally do , only to be told to wheel myself down to the toilet. That short span of time, no more than a few hours, was a real eye opener. A few years later I was on a training course and was blindfolded and led around a room by someone who took my arm. I was totally blind for what seemed an eternity. I was disorientated after just a few seconds. I put my total trust in the care of a stranger. Lastly I have placed cotton wool in both of my ears and tried to get on with my day. I did this at work with others watching me . The whole world had suddenly left me and I was isolated in silence. It was a relief to get the cotton wool out of my ears.
In my time I was a social care practitioner in the community. I met people of all walks with all manner of issues that I tried to help them with. One of the first points I decided was to put myself in their shoes. I met people with hearing problems, physical disabilities and those with vision impairments. In order to assist them I imagined what they must feel like . Therefore I thought if I was them what would I want from life. It helped me to help them.
Now imagine that your memory has gone. You cant remember your children’s names or what you had for dinner last night. You get lost when out in the street and don’t know where you live. You forget to do simple everyday tasks. Can you imagine that ………I cant. I have no idea what must go through a persons mind whilst they suffer from dementia. Frustration and anger come to mind. As in all the issues that I described earlier on there is no way you can try out the concept of having no memory.
I see family members who cannot understand what there loved ones emotions are all about and I have explained on numerous occasions that it is not them that is talking but it is in fact that terrible disease called dementia. You have to put yourself in their shoes, if you can, not only with someone who has a physical disability but for those who are suffering from dementia. The key words to remember are
Always, if you can try to imagine it was you. Always say to yourself ….what if?
Always listen to the other person And look at the world from their eyes. Put yourself in their position and ask yourself’ how would I like to be treated?
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