Advocacy, Care Partnering, Challenges & Solutions, Videos

not just a piece of the furniture

not just a piece of the furniture

“Why don’t you stop and talk to her? Why don’t you take a minute to hold her hand?” Judy Berry asked care workers when they said her mother was being difficult.

Berry, who eventually opened her own award-winning dementia care facility, saw what the “professionals” failed to recognize: that her mother’s responsive behaviours resulted from unmet emotional needs.

When she suggested a different approach, Berry got variations of the same answers: “Oh she’s not there anymore, she doesn’t know the difference,” or “We don’t have time for that.”

Moreover Berry says, care facility staff often see people with dementia as being like “a piece of the furniture” and “not there.”

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but they are few and far between and Berry couldn’t find any for her mother. The outcome was disastrous. Berry’s mother was transferred from one long-term care facility to another — a total of twelve different homes in only seven years.

Here’s part of the story:


This is part of a series on Judy Berry’s experience; see part one here: 7 years of horror created a dementia care hero 

Judy Berry is the Founder of She is a dementia care consultant, a comprehensive care coordinator, and an inspirational speaker. Berry conceptualized, created, built and ran the acclaimed Lakeview Ranch long-term care facility for sixteen years. Based on her experience, she developed the award-winning Lakeview Ranch Model of Specialized Dementia Care. She is nationally recognized for her highly innovative and successful approach to specialized care for persons with dementia, particularly those with a history of challenging and/or aggressive behaviours.

Like this post? Subscribe to my free updates here.

Copyright: ealisa / 123RF Stock Photo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s