Imagine if you could perfect the art of living in the moment? In a world of intermittent distractions, the art of Being seems to have been lost without a chance of it ever being recovered. If that is indeed the case, perhaps we haven’t been looking far enough.

Just peer into the lives of people living with dementia and you might soon find that the art has not been entirely wiped from the realm of possibility, and just perhaps, there is hope for those chasing after the seemingly unattainable. Just maybe, there is something to be learnt about just Being.

When COVID-19 was first announced to the world, the range of people who took a vested interest were not all that many. But, as time went on, one thing became crystal clear, the coronavirus was growing and doing so rapidly. What at first would have seemed a chore in finding stats about COVID-19 soon became something we wished we could avoid. It seems that now more than ever we are overloaded with stimuli that demand our attention and action.

This has been coming for a while though, as the world has become digitalised, more and more time seems to be wasted away daily, staring at a lit-up rectangle just a few centimetres away from our faces. Some may say it creates avenues for being more connected, but we know from experience that the last thing that teaches us to be present are those tiny rectangles we store in our pockets, briefcases and backpacks.

How has it happened that we have become so out of touch with the essence of Being? It seems there is an art to be rediscovered. And who better to teach us than those who have perfected it?

When we encounter older people living with dementia, one thing becomes clear, they are mostly content with being in the moment.  They do not reminisce about the past in the way that Facebook demands us to be constantly reminded. They do not sell us a five-step plan to future success in the way that our half-read self-help books attempt to do. No, in the present they find no failure to dwell on or future to stress over.

Immediately your mind may go to how this isn’t possible for you, living in a fast-paced world with the next deadline looming over you like some kind of bad omen. You’ll do well then to read the last paragraph again. Perhaps it’s time to stop dwelling on what there is to be gained from interaction with older people and realise that there is a lot to be learnt. Not only about yourself, but about those living in the moment every day because the burden of memory has been lifted from their shoulders.

This way of living is a gift, and one to be treasured. Perhaps, then, the best way to start living in the moment is to live with those living in the moment. And this is what GERATEC aims to do: to find the person in the dementia and not to try to evacuate them from it. We have learned that the key to living in the moment is to live with those who live the moment best. It’s amazing what relationship-centred care can do, both for those living with dementia, their families and those working with them.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)