Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thought for the Day
Good Morning Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Dementia is a huge challenge facing Britain today. A number of stories appeared in the press this last fortnight about organizations coming together to support those suffering from the disorder and about changes in the types of treatment being offered in clinical settings and in the community. The intention is to transform the lives people with this condition lead.

It’s not that far away from any of us.

The reality of such an illness is that those close to us may lose some of the character we’ve grown up with and learned to love. If we are afflicted, that we’ll slowly begin to lose our grasp of things going on around us. Somebody will have to shift heaven and earth, or at least their own set of priorities, to keep in meaningful contact. And - thinking always of cost as we do these days - somebody will need to pay for our care.


My religious tradition, as an example, understands the worth of human beings on the basis that they are loved, and that they are objects for God’s concern – all of them, well or unwell. It’s not a contest won by those who athletically retain their faculties until the end - the last ones on the block with their wits. What we end up knowing matters less than who we are known to be, by those who love us. And we are known by God even when we cease to know ourselves.

My tradition also understands that the moral fabric of societies and of individuals can be measured by the care they provide to the "least capable" of their brethren.

Fact is, we will need to be taken by the arm at various points of our life. And – it’s true - the world will go on without us.

It is challenge for individuals early in their diagnosis to accept change – a universal change - which in his or her case has come too soon. It’s a challenge, too, to the larger society to provide excellent and compassionate care - to do something more than honour the bottom line.

An audio link is available for a limited time HERE. TFTD begins at 1:23.59 - about halfway along the audio bar.

1 comment:

Ciss B said...

Beautifully said. Being the daughter and granddaughter of women who died in the grips of dementia, I know that our countries (The States too.) need to find more ways both in health care and personal ways to help families and those who are haunted by this disease.