“He isn’t like these people.”


Have more questions and don't know where to turn?

Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.

“Look at everybody else here,” she protested. “He isn’t like these people! I saw this one lady yesterday, she couldn’t even talk! She just sat there. She couldn’t even use her fork right. And this other guy, he was like ‘eh, eh, eh,’” she said, making a terrible face and raising her arms up to her head in a mocking gesture.

I was getting angry. If there is one sentence I don’t like to hear at work, it’s this one: “She isn’t like those people.”

As calmly as I could, I leaned forward and looked her in the eye. “I think you need to lend some respect to ‘these people,’” I said. “This is their disease process, and this is how your loved one may very well progress in his disease,” I suggested. “And, maybe not. Maybe he won’t forget how to use a fork, or how to talk, before he passes away. But, either way, these people are still people.”

She sat there, pausing for a moment, as if to think.

“Yeah, but he just isn’t like these people,” she repeated. “There’s no one there he can talk to,” she continued, trying to convince me that everyone in our dementia care community was unable to communicate.

“That’s just not true,” I said. “He’s downstairs right now, sitting at a table with two other residents, having a conversation. That’s where I just came from.”

She paused again, crinkling her face in defeat. “Well…that’s good,” she sighed.

I realize that this woman was uncomfortable, and fearful, perhaps, for her loved one. But I do also want people to lend respect to other residents with dementia. Because, where there is that fear, there is misunderstanding.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!