Describing empathy as a lubricant creates visuals in my head like the annoying squeaky door hinge that finally gets some W-D40. A lubricant softens rough edges, makes things work better, and a little bit goes a long way. I think the same is true when we approach situations that we encounter in work and life from a place of empathy.
I have experienced moments of confusion, like being on a business trip and waking up in an unfamiliar place and needing a moment to orient myself. One time (or possibly more than once), I forgot where I parked my car at a large shopping mall. With so many entrances to choose from, I could not remember which one I walked through to enter the mall. Just a few weeks ago, I went through half of a day believing it was Thursday, and it was Wednesday- an entire HALF DAY!
The National Institute on Aging states, "abuse can happen to anyone-no matter the person's age, sex, race, religion, or ethnic or cultural background. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. This is called elder abuse.
Neurological research substantiates that human beings appear to be "wired" to be empathetic. In other words, we all have an innate ability to be empathetic. Would empathy training in dementia care provide a strong foundation tool for front line staff to help improve the quality of life for those living with dementia?