What does empathy, the road to dealing with Dementia and the spate of new movies/shorts on dementia all have in common?

May 3, 2014 in Alzheimer's & Dementia |

Barbara, the whole story – watch before you read! 

“Created by nurses at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to raise awareness of dementia among staff, Barbara’s Story is a series of 6 films which has changed attitudes to dementia in hospitals across the world. “

Like anything in this life you need to get others on board, and the easiest way to get others on board is to create an identity between others and your objective.   In terms of the human psyche that identity is empathy. 

RSA Shorts – The Power of Empathy – watch this short!

Empathy is not about feeling sorry for someone, but it is about the ability to put yourself in their shoes, and from that position to give you the insight to appreciate the perspective and their problem. 

Without empathy, a problem that you are not directly experiencing is somebody else’s problem, and while you may feel sorry (sympathy) you might not do anything about it – it is easy to feel sorry but much harder to make it your problem.  The problem with this is that many of life’s problems will eventually become your own, or they may be pressing enough to affect you whether or not you are personally and directly impacted.  This is where we are with dementia.

There are a number of different threads in dealing with dementia and Alzheimers in particular: we have the medical research thread; the care management thread; the lifestyle and therapy thread; the prevent it before it happens thread, and we have the all important coping with it as an affected thread – whether you are someone in early stages Alzheimers or a family member or friend of someone with it.

How can we as a society realise the importance of all these threads, their proximity to ourselves and awake a sense of purpose in all of us to make some small or large effort to make a difference to the whole problem? 

The answer is, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the problem, at the very heart of the problem, and this is where the spate of recent art house and other movies and books on Alzheimers and dementia experience come into play.  They put you right into the heart of the problem, to allow you to realise the humanity of the problem, and thereby create an identity with the problem.

Movies are of course the quickest and surest way of creating that identity, that empathy that is an all important route to getting us all on board to dealing with this very important and life impacting issue.

I would also suggest you look at the following: The Genius of Marian

And other resources sourced directly or indirectly from my twitter life:

The Importance of Empathy in Nursing http://www.nursetogether.com/the-importance-of-empathy-in-nursing

Films focus on Alzheimer’s caregiving http://www.blscourierherald.com/news/257704561.html

What is the care measure of your service? http://www.caremeasure.org

Showing empathy to patients can improve care..http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124121543.htm …

‘Where the heart is’ is an art project taking place in dementia care settings in the Preston area. ttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Where-the-heart-is/635823289766121

Without empathy we cannot care: “From The Classroom To The Big Wide World, Empathy Matters” http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2013/08/22/from-the-classroom-to-the-big-wide-world-empathy-matters/#./?&_suid=139896318054105059386887722348 …

From 2012 – study found college students showing less empathy than previous decades, a 40% decline in fact.http://www.chcp.edu/blog/loss-empathy-society-today …

CBC-The Current@TheCurrentCBCApr 30

We are working on a dementia special. We want to hear your stories about loved ones who wander. thecurrent@cbc.ca https://www.facebook.com/cbcthecurrent/posts/679653808738046 …

OMNI Health Care@omnihealthcareMay 1

Discussing #dementia’s toll: Don’t let sadness silence us. News anchor shares her story. http://ow.ly/wmKOd

SiG@sigenerationMay 1

MUST: Empathy & Democracy: public discussion presented by @RootsofEmpathy May 7, Glenn Gould Studio, 6pm Register http://bit.ly/1iNdBFq


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