The Dementia Guerilla Charm Offensive

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The Dementia Guerilla Charm Offensive

LARRY GARDINER Created by LARRY GARDINER

Challenging the portrayal of people with dementia as diminished. Claiming the right to have a voice and to have a say in decisions affecting us. NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!

I lead a dementia guerilla charm offensive that aims to confront stigma; to challenge the portrayal of people with a dementia diagnosis; and to re-imagine life with dementia. I have dementia. However, dementia does not define me; it is just a disorder that affects me.

We have become accustomed to view individuals with dementia as being defined by their symptoms. We want to encourage policy makers, commissioners, clinicians,


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Challenging the portrayal of people with dementia as diminished. Claiming the right to have a voice and to have a say in decisions affecting us. NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!

I lead a dementia guerilla charm offensive that aims to confront stigma; to challenge the portrayal of people with a dementia diagnosis; and to re-imagine life with dementia. I have dementia. However, dementia does not define me; it is just a disorder that affects me.

We have become accustomed to view individuals with dementia as being defined by their symptoms. We want to encourage policy makers, commissioners, clinicians, practitioners, social workers, care providers and professionals in every area to relate with us as people first and to see disorders affecting us as separate. The features of our personhood are not defined by disorders of the brain. I am still me.

Our essential humanity is limitless and it persists despite illness. All too often our identities, our capabilities, our capacities, our creativity, our resourcefulness, our preferences, our aspirations, our ambitions and our wishes are ignored in every policy, every process, every decision and every provision! We are the experts by experience who never get heard.

We are a resource that every organisation, agency or provider should engage because person centered practice would be meaningless without the contribution we can bring. The one authentic and collective voice that is absolutely necessary in every decision made by you or affecting us is OUR voice. The single guiding principle both eminently desirable and essential for best practice in every decision making domain should be that:

"NOTHING CAN BE DECIDED ABOUT US WITHOUT US!"

Dementia is not just a consequence of growing older. Dementia is an illness that can also affect individuals of working age. Dementia is a a group of degenerative disorders that damage the brain by killing brain cells. Currently dementia is usually both progressive and incurable. 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will die with dementia. 700,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. In less than 20 years nearly a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.

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