I am currently working on a project for improving approaches to persons with dementia. One thing I do whenever I start an education project on dementia is review the way the brain changes with dementia.

I spend some time talking about the cortex, the frontal/pre-frontal part of the brain, which is the last part of the brain to develop (males later than females — sorry, but it’s the truth), which is also the first part of the brain to become damaged with dementia.

Now, it’s important to understand that this part of the brain regulates three major things: impulse control, decision-making and empathy; that is, seeing things from another’s point of view. 

But then it occurred to me. Do 90% of the people posting on social media have moderate to advanced dementia? I mean, it seems that impulse control and empathy are certainly lost, and I certainly must question many poster’s decision-making.

I mean, I get it if you have dementia. They don’t like what’s going on, and they express themself often in a nasty way. But a person with dementia has an actual damaged brain. But what excuse do all these social media posters have? I mean, rude, mean, nasty, downright cruel responses. 

Like even on the classic rock page of Facebook. Who needs to be nasty when discussing their favorite guitarist? You would not believe it. How the heck can you turn a discussion on the Yardbirds, who I believe had the best guitarists (I mean, come on – Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page) and somehow turn that into a political fight???  This behavior from persons with intact brains confuses me.

I wonder, do people wake up and make a conscious decision to be a butt head or does it just happen naturally? I can take it all day from a person with a damaged brain, but dude, what’s their excuse?

So let me ask this. During National Skilled Nursing Home Month, can we cultivate kindness? Can we be nicer to each other, support each other? Things are hard enough as it is without knocking each other down. We don’t have to agree, but let’s treat each other with respect. Let’s set an example for the world. Otherwise, I am going to question your cognitive abilities. Just saying.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates. 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.