Many of the comments people make on my posts, and the stories they send me by email and snail mail break me heart. Some literally bring me to tears. This is one of them – a comment CL made when I posted “an open letter to the dementia community worldwide” on the MAS Facebook page:
“When my father was in the hospital for a stroke, a gentleman used to show up every day. He was an older patient, and he used to tell my dad great stories and jokes from his younger years. My dad thoroughly enjoyed these daily visits.
One day my dad asked me to check on “Robbie” because he hadn’t seen him in a couple of days. So I checked with the nursing staff and they said he was moved to a different ward. So I went to look for him. I found him restrained in a chair, in a zombie daze and drooling. It was heartbreaking!
When I questioned the nurses, they said someone complained about him walking around talking to other patients, so they did this horrifying drugging and restraining!. I cried. Then I told my dad he had died. I couldn’t tell him the truth. It was awful!.
P.S. Robbie never hurt or touched anyone. He just stood at the bottom of the bed and talked. Still haunts me to this day. Five years now.”
The very same thing happened to my gregarious and fun-loving mom: she was physically and chemically restrained for being friendly and sociable. Just the thought of it still makes me cry. Imagine the state of poor “Robbie,” who had brought others joy with his “wandering,” if his friend’s daughter felt it was better to tell her father Robbie was dead rather than tell him the truth of what had happened. Better to say he was dead. Think about that.
I believe it’s a crime to do this to vulnerable people, and in particular to vulnerable elderly. We must stop it. And we must #BanBPSD.