When I wrote my article New Channel 4 Cafe in Bristol run by people living with Dementia, I hadn’t noticed the name of the Cafe – The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes
Was that a mistake on my part, No.
Was the name a mistake bt Channel 4, Yes.
I have Dementia, a cognitive disability, I am losing the ability to read understand and remember sentences.
If I read an article and later get the content or the main thrust of the article wrong, that isn’t a mistake on my part, it is a change in my abilities.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “Mistake” as:
“An act or judgement that is misguided or wrong.”
I have set fire to our cooker, that is not a mistake, it is because cognitively I forget I am cooking.
I misspell words when I am typing, again not a mistake, it is because the signals get mixed up from my brain to my fingers.
Neither examples are misguided or wrong.
At those points in time, I wasn’t cognitively aware of what was happening.
To be misguided or wrong, I would have had to have known that what I was doing was wrong at that point in time.
When will the media learn the truth about life with Dementia, that there are 3 main stages, different levels of ability and experiences and thereby remove the stigma and abusive labelling.
We don’t all have wrinkly hands, hunched over and drooling.
In an article about Sir Philip Alston’s UN investigation, Disability News Service UK stated:
“He also pointed to the role that tabloid newspapers and others – including those owned by his fellow Australian Rupert Murdoch (now a US citizen) – had played in stigmatising and distorting human rights “so we all know that human rights are only for drug dealers and terrorists”.”
Channel 4, could have chosen a less stigmatising name for the cafe.
Would it not have been more effective to have not told anyone that people living with Dementia ran the cafe and then recorded the public’s reactions.
Would that not have been more effective at helping to reduce the stigma and the ignorance of society.
It would have normalised the day to day experiences of people living with Dementia.
It would have highlighted the mistakes in society and media perceptions of people living with Dementia.
The programme is a great idea, poorly thought out and executed, perpetuating the negative narrative around Dementia.