Dignity In Choice

Dignity In Choice

Yesterday, I had a conversation with an individual who was the primary caregiver for their grandmother, who was beginning her journey with dementia. I shared Resense's story with her and the reason behind our products, specifically the Resense Register. As I was explaining the benefits of the paper, such as its large font and positive articles, she interrupted me and said, "It's one less thing to remind them of their diagnosis." Her statement offered an insightful and profound perspective that I had never considered before. Yet, her words perfectly captured the essence of my motivations behind the paper's design and content. Let me explain why.

Imagine being in the shoes of someone living with dementia - constantly overlooked, frustrated by the inability to remember things, and bombarded with reminders of a diagnosis that is beyond their control. While this might seem extreme, each of us can probably recall a time when we were treated as if we didn't matter. However, for individuals with dementia, this is a daily reality. At Resense, we strive to bridge the communication gap between individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. Our sole goal is to restore dignity to these individuals, treating them with the honor, love, and respect they deserve and have shown us throughout our lives.

Recently, during a conversation with my friend and mentor, Dawn Wiggins, she emphasized the power of "choice" for individuals with dementia. Instead of constantly demanding that they remember, providing choices and options gives them a sense of control and autonomy. This approach perfectly aligns with the design and content of the Resense Register. We provide them options and choices of the articles to read and puzzles to engage with, all with a dementia friendly design. By offering a resource that avoids constant reminders of the diagnosis and instead is tailored to their abilities, focusing on uplifting and positive information, we empower individuals with dementia to engage with the world on their terms. 

It's not just about the design of the Register, but also about how it can facilitate meaningful conversations. By including "reminiscent" content, the Register becomes a gateway to deeper interactions with the individual and their caregiver. These conversations can arise naturally and help both parties connect on a more personal level, allowing the individual to feel heard and respected, while the caregiver gains valuable insight into their loved one's experiences and perspectives.

Enabling choice is not merely about providing options - it's about preserving the independence and dignity of those living with dementia. When individuals feel overlooked and constantly defined by their diagnosis, it can lead to increased stress, agitation, and a diminished sense of self-worth.

I am not alone in this endeavor. I look to Dawn Wiggins,  Laurette Klier from Nana's Books and Nikki Jardin from Mirador Magazine as pioneers in this field. I am proud to call them friends, and together, we can begin to change the narrative in this space.

By designing products and experiences that give individuals with dementia a sense of control, we actively work to maintain their autonomy and personhood, even as the disease progresses. This holistic, empathetic approach lies at the heart of Resense's mission and will continue to guide our efforts to support individuals with dementia and their care teams.

If you work with, care for, or  support individuals living with dementia, I would love to continue this conversation. How can we work together to change these individuals' lives even in the smallest of ways? I would love to hear your thoughts! Email me at luke@resensebox.com!


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