Words Matter

The feminist movement of last century strongly highlighted the power of language not only to reflect societal/cultural perceptions and attitudes, but to form and reinforce them. The Australian Journal of Dementia Care (AJDC), in several recent issues, has invited discussion of appropriate language when talking about people living with dementia. While some may dismiss these concerns about language as an over-concern with political correctness, in fact the words we use have very real-life impact on the people we work with. How does it feel to be talked about as ‘victim  or ‘sufferer’, a carrier of ‘behaviours’? What difference does it make in our professional behaviour when we view someone as being ‘demented  rather than someone ‘living with dementia’?

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