Have you ever been in public and feel as if nothing is going right? For example, have you been in a restaurant and your loved one with dementia is saying something inappropriate or drawing attention? Have you ever felt embarrassed about a certain situation?
While it might feel like the whole world is looking at you and your loved one, this is a great opportunity to educate others about dementia and explain to them why the situation might have occurred. However, we know that some persons with dementia are not always comfortable disclosing their diagnosis due to the stigma that still exists.
When we would take our grandmother out to a restaurant for dinner we wished we created a card that was discrete enough to share with others that her behaviours might have been a bit of the 'ordinary' because of her dementia diagnosis. We also wanted to thank people around us for being so patient and understanding during the situation.
As a result, we have created a resource card, the size of a business card to share with others in public and inform them of dementia and use it as an educational tool. While many times we were unable to educate our server, cashier, or salesperson that our grandmother had dementia in that moment, we wished that we had something to inform them so that our grandmother did not feel uncomfortable.
By sharing a dementia diagnosis with the public and people working in customer service, this helps to educate society and inform people of ways that we can better support persons living with dementia in their communities to live well, without feeling embarrassed.
We also want to note that these cards should not be used as an 'excuse' or for the public to treat people with dementia differently or ignore them. We want to use these cards as a way to be more inclusive, educate others, and for businesses to be able to offer the best service for persons living with dementia.
What are some ways you educate the public about dementia? Share with us in the comments below.