Intellectually, we know that being gentle with people is the both the right and the healthy thing to do. It's good for the people we love and support and it's good for ourselves. However, putting gentleness into action is not always so easy. Being busy, rushed, tired, stressed and stretched can result in our doing and saying things that are less than gentle and border or harsh or violent.
A school of thought in the disability world, described by John McGee is called “Gentle Teaching.” Although we don’t generally consider the supports we provide to people with dementia, “teaching,” per say, the principles of Gentle Teaching are valuable principles to bring to our work with people with dementia.
McGee describes A Spirit of Gentleness as being about …
· Our non-violence
· Our sense of social justice
· Our expression of unconditional value
· Our warmth to those who are cold
· Our creating an environment where people feel Safe, Loved, Loving and Engaged
· Our creating an environment of companionship with people who are marginalized
· Our promoting community in a way that is meaningful for the person we support
· Our decision to be side-by-side with those who are devalued
(Adapted from John McGee’s: A Spirit of Gentleness)