Posted at 23:11h
Bonnie Sandler S.W., The Senior Times - February 2010
Alzheimer’s and related dementias rob a person of many abilities but should not rob them of being treated with dignity and respect. While some Alzheimer’s behaviours may seem childlike, the disease does not turn adults into children.
We often affectionately greet children as “sweetie,” “cutie pie,” and “my lovely,” but these are not appropriate names for adults, no matter what their mental capacity. It is disturbing to hear paid home caregivers and residence staff use such childish endearments for their patients. When introducing a client to the head nurse of a residence, she greeted my client with: “Aren’t you a cutie pie?” My client’s daughter looked horrified and I half expected her to grab her mother and run. The following week I overheard a nurse call her Alzheimer’s patient “lovey.” I was sitting in my doctor’s office patiently, or not so patiently, waiting for my name to be called. “Mrs.” was called in, then “Mr.” and after a few more people had their turn, the physician called out “Bonnie.” I do not have a personal relationship with this doctor but was not offended by his calling me by my first name. I am just not sure why he used my first name while he called the other patients “Mr.” or “Mrs.”