Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let not Dementia be treated with 'Shackles'.

Shouldn't get angry when reading a newspaper article. Its just one journalist's interpretation after all. But I did feel hackles rising when reading of an attempt by Cardiff Council to stop an elderly couple taking a cruise holiday together. The Council went so far as to use the courts to frustrate the couple's wishes - eventually applying to the Court of Protection to declare a lack of capacity to make decisions.

Norman Davies and Peggy Ross have been together for 20 years, and have enjoyed many cruise holidays before. Last July Mrs Ross had to be admitted to a care home because she was suffering from dementia, and Mr Davies, who was caring for her, had to go into hospital himself. Cardiff Council decided she could not go on the cruise in October because "she might wander off or fall overboard". It seems that Cardiff Council believes that once someone is diagnosed with dementia, they should no longer enjoy a cruise. Such warped logic probably dictates that dementia sufferers should be deprived of most other activities as well. I suppose they should just be locked up for their own safety. This is the way bureaucracy thinks.

Actually, I'm not particularly critical of the Council - but of the over protective attitude which seems to infect modern life, and smother common sense. Dementia has a cruel impact, which greatly increases risk of accidents. Its a risk that sufferers should be allowed to take. Preventing sufferers from living as normal a life as possible is cruel. Personally, should I ever be afflicted by dementia, let me state clearly now that I would want total freedom to go and do as I want, and would much prefer to die in an accident than be wrapped up in cotton wool, and kept going to suffer the traumatic death that so often faces dementia sufferers. Thank goodness that Judge Crispin Masterman had the sense and compassion to overrule the Council. The report tells us that Norman Davies and Peggy Ross "thoroughly enjoyed their cruise" - and that she was far more mentally active than she would have been has she just stayed in her care home. By the time I reached the end of the article, the happy ending had calmed me down.

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