NY Times article is demeaning to elderly people who have Alzheimer's

Here is the offending/offensive article: All-Night Care for Dementia’s Restless Minds

I will be the first one to admit that it gets a little boring to listen to people have complaints about political correctness and terminology - everyone is offended by everything these days... but this article went so far beyond any semblance of acceptability that it has to be pointed out.

I am not criticizing the program - because I have no direct knowledge of what actually happens there. In concept I think that offering night time respite care for caregivers is a great idea. Unfortunately, the authors of this article portrayed the program in a very negative way - and I don't think that they really intended to do so.

Throughout the article the authors repetitively compare elderly program participants to children. For example:

1. The participants were "chattering and giggling like children sneaking out of camp."

2. A caregiver reports relief by stating, "It was like when your baby first sleeps through the night."

3. Another sad comparison about a program participant: "...like a kindergartner acclimating to school she made new friends, and blossomed."

4. Some of the activities presented to the participants do not seem to be age appropriate: "A children's pool with soapy water was set on a table, and a few people sat around it, playing with the suds, squeezing the soft toys."

5. The authors continued the theme of comparing the elderly participants to children, stating that the therapist is like "a really cool counselor at night."

6. There were also several sexual references - among the worst – “the place suddenly felt like a girlish slumber party: Mrs. XXX was talking, again, about men and sex, causing Ms. YYYY to dissolve into giggles.”

It was horrifying to see that the authors actually posted the names of these program participants. Could they provide informed consent?

In my opinion this whole article was simply disgusting. If you are so inclined, please write a letter to the NY Times and tell them that the article was demeaning, inappropriate, and a very poor example of journalism. Elderly people who have Alzheimer's Disease deserve much more dignity and respect than what was written in this article.


Not surprised at all. The New York Times has progressed into a horrible newspaper. Why do you think their subscription rate continues to drop? And, hopefully even more people will discontinue their subscriptions after reading an article like that!

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