Works of Love Newsletter
"Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People" Grand Rounds September 29
Please join The Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics for:
"Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People"
How can we approach a "deeply forgetful" person so as to notice and affirm their worth and dignity? How can we overcome the influence of "hypercognitive" values, with their emphasis on human worth as a matter of linear rationality? Is symbolic rationality actually both more important and enduring? Deeply forgetful people will often identify with a meaningful symbolic object even in the end stages, still somehow sensing that their identity is connected with a doll they clutch or a cowboy hat they wear. Is "dementia" itself a word that invites negative metaphors, like "husk," "shell," and "gone"? Post's phrase "paradoxical lucidity" stresses the surprising moments of relative lucidity as reported by most caregivers, usually stimulated by music, art, nature, smell, and even a dementia dog. He will address the problems that deeply forgetful people sometimes face in avoiding the intensive care unit and hospitalization in favor of hospice care. He will address pre-emptive assisted suicide in Europe and Canada with caution, based on his direct observations. Post shares impressive strategies for better communication with deeply forgetful people, and advocates for a nationally supported caregiver respite program.
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