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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
DAI's October's Guest Speaker Prof Steven Sabat: Understanding the Selfhood of PWD
Professor Steven Sabat: “Understanding the Selfhood of People with a Dementia: Context is Key” will be the keynote speaker at Dementia Alliance International's October Meeting of The Minds...it is FREE to attend, and is online...Oct. 28/29 (depending on where in the world you are).
The talk was fantastic, in case you didn't get to be there I will post the link of it here when it comes out.
One of the key features of the talk that I thought was exceptional, was he talked about the loss of self. He said that we don't really lose ourselves, but are at risk for losing out social self. One aspect of that is our work, or from loss of things we used to do. The other is due to other people. He said, in order to be seen as a devoted wife...your partner would need to see you that way, and that often chances in dementia.
He said depending on how others frame the way they view you, you will see you either as appropriate for the situation or as dysfunctional. I thought that was really eye opening, because add that to the tertiary issues, we might be able to change how others view people with dementia.
Someone after the meeting, that will not be on the recording, referred to dementia as "family of conditions known as dementia" and I really thought that was nice.
Here is the video of the Webinar
"Fundamental to Dr. Sabat’s approach is that “it is extremely important to understand the subjective experience of AD; that is, what does it mean to the person to be experiencing certain losses of ability, how does the person react to those losses, how do caregivers react, and what do the reactions of caregivers mean to the person diagnosed?”
Dr. Sabat insists on the importance of beginning by looking at the fundamental rhetorical aspect of how individuals are addressed and talked about.
“At treatment centers, there is this thing hanging in the air about everyone being a patient,” says Dr. Sabat, explaining the impact of labels and stereotypes as viscerally palpable, even to someone who does not bear the said label.
Dr. Sabat describes this kind of rhetoric as part of a deficit approach, which focuses overwhelmingly on problems and limitations, and is endemic to current medical practices.
“Why call someone a patient?” he asks. “As if that described their entire person?”
According to Dr. Sabat, a pivotal step toward positive change involves stepping outside of the pathological rhetoric.
Dr. Sabat’s work uncovers and challenges negative and potentially detrimental stereotypes of AD sufferers—for example, that they are passive, vegetables, antisocial, or irrationally angry. Such stereotypes make it dangerously easy to mistreat and misinterpret individuals with AD. While Dr. Sabat’s approach requires considerable time and commitment, the results of his work reveal the valuable fact that persons with AD are often hardly as disabled as they are socially expected to be.
What Dr. Sabat calls “learned helplessness,” a term coined by psychologist Martin Seligman, is in fact a reaction to such stereotyping, acting like a self-fulfilling prophecy, since passivity is among the stereotypical expectations of individuals with AD. Their perceived passivity or other symptomatic behavior has been shown to be a learned response to the stereotypes that their caregivers and practitioners project onto them, along with assimilated stereotypes (known as self-stereotypes) that individuals with AD have frequently learned and absorbed."