Misperceptions


Sometime in May this year our local newspaper published a series of articles about dementia and its impact on people. While I appreciate the effort to tell the story of dementia, I think the headline and subtitle are ghastly.

The snapshot below gives the titles of the various stories in the special report, which are interesting and not sensationalised. Unfortunately these reports are marked “premium” which means they remain behind a paywall for newspaper subscribers only.

So the problem is this – our premier newspaper does an admirable write-up of real life families and how they cope with dementia. However the news editor then hides the series from the larger public who could benefit from it, by marking the series Premium. And to top it off, the editor decides to sensationalise the topic by using words and phrases such as “monster in his head”, “stolen his mind”. Believe me, these words are not used in the articles.

Dementia is an awful disease, however, the person with dementia is still present, there is no “monster” taking over. We have to recognise, acknowledge and respect the person with dementia and speak to him or her directly, with love.

6 thoughts on “Misperceptions”

  1. Insensitive headliner to grab attention. I agree with you. I subscribe to newsprint Straits Times and the article went on to explain that the character of the person changes as the personae of the illness takes over – silly to use monster in the head as that was how mental illnesses were described once upon a time till I made it a point to work at community level to de-stigmatize mental illnesses.

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  2. I share your frustration with that tactic. I also recall having to stop watching the news on TV with my mom. The sensationalist journalism, combined with constantly scrolling headlines and news clips of scary stuff around the world, made her think all of these scary things were happening outside our front door.

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