The Cruise-Ship You Can’t Get Off

Today’s insight discusses empathizing with loved ones. Imagine going on a cruise, and staff won’t let you disembark! How is this like dementia?

Transcription of Video:

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

Today I want you to imagine that you just finished a week long cruise. It was wonderful! At the end of the cruise everybody is getting off the ship and the cruise director pulls you aside and says, “Actually you’re not going to leave; you’re going to stay here. We want you to consider this your home now. Right over there, that’s your room. Please avail yourself of all of the amenities that we have here. Enjoy the buffets and the entertainment and the pools. You can’t do any actual work that would derive any value of any sort because, you know, we’re going to sail the ship ourselves and we’re fine there. And you can’t cook or do laundry or anything else relevant, but please just stay entertained. It’ll be fun!”

What would your reaction be? You’d think this was crazy, right? Because you have to get back home, you’ve got responsibilities, and you’ve got a whole list of things that need to be done. And so if they wouldn’t let you off the ship you would have to become more and more insistent to prove your point because clearly everyone around you is nuts. They’re not letting you off the ship! Why don’t they understand? What is the matter with them?

Dementia is the cruise ship you can never get off. I got this idea from Teepa Snow. If you ever have a chance to look up her videos she’s a great trainer. So oftentimes a person with dementia is misunderstood. They’re not allowed to be relevant anymore. They’re not allowed to do things that make them feel useful. People around them don’t understand. They know in their heart that they are right and everybody else is wrong.

I hope that helps you to be able to empathize with your loved one. Recognize that dementia is a very confusing journey. Sometimes we just need to simply empathize with them.

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798