- Care Forum Wales

What do
other people
think dignity
means ….?
Being with my family and
feeling useful rather than a
Treating us all individually,
respecting diversity, and
different cultures
Maintaining the respect
we had when we had
jobs and status in
Remembering that you
who still have your
youth will lose it very
Ensuring we have the
privacy you would want
to have for yourself
Knowing I won’t remember
and telling me again without
showing your irritation
Dignity, what does it mean to you?
People not
talking over
me & about
me as if I
wasn’t there
‘What dignity means to me’
From clients, families, friends and staff
“Being treated as an individual not a widget”
“Giving me Time”
“Being Polite and Respectful”
“Being Honest with me”
“Being Interested in me”
“Playing music I like”
“Remembering this is my home, not just your place of work”
“Giving me space”
“In Austria they treat strangers better than they treat people they
know – I like that”
“My time being well used”
“I knew a resident who could only move her eyes so the care
practitioners knew to let her look at the perfume she wanted to
wear that day – so it was her choice – That’s dignity to me”
“When someone takes the time to understand what I can and
can’t do”
“I know the staff don’t always have a lot of time, but I must say
they do try to give me time the time I need”.
“Being given privacy and time - I don’t want to feel rushed on the
toilet – nobody would, would they?”
“Losing my dignity was something I never considered until I lost
it! I think that’s because we take it for granted. You have your
dignity when you are in control of yourself, when you have a job,
when people look up to you and treat you as an equal. You know
when you have lost it – you feel so belittled, so angry and so
helpless – the trouble is you have no way of getting it back on
your own!”
“I hate it when people talk across me. It doesn’t happen much to be
honest, most of the staff are really good about chatting to me when they
are doing things. Some take a real interest in my music collection which is
nice – and funny – especially when the young ones like my 60s stuff!”
“Being able to put yourself in my shoes and think about how you’d like to
be treated.”
“I know I can’t do what I did before, but I need people to think about what
I can do – it’s what keeps me going to be honest. The day is just too long
“Sheila knows just how I like things. I miss her when she’s on holiday, but
she is very good at telling the others. I bet she bosses them actually!”
“Its really important where my glasses are left at night so I can get reach
them first thing. “
“Dignity is ‘my side’ of respect, if you respect me I will have dignity”
“I love to see mum looking the way she did at home. She has
always been very ‘done’ and I know how important it is to her”
“It is nice to hear people talking to Ron about things we talk
about as a family. It feels like they know him really well”
“Being sensitive to things he can’t do anymore. I know it upsets
Dad that he can’t do things, but the staff handle it really well,
they seem to sensitively do the things he can’t do and put more
focus on the things he can do – which I know makes him feel
better. It’s a real skill.”
“Dignity is not having an open backed gown, or being taken on a
hoist down the corridor or having people laughing at you”
“Dignity is when you see someone caring for your father with respect,
treating him like an equal adult not a child, genuinely listening to what he is
trying to say not just pretending to listen”
“Dignity is such a hard thing to express because you don’t always have the
words, but it is a certain tone of voice, sharing a joke a touch as they pass
that sends the message that you are OK, they respect you, they understand”
“I know we shouldn’t lump people together and stereotype them but I do
think it must be hard for people who work in the NHS or social care to ‘carry
dignity’ with them because they must have such different attitudes to those
of us who work in other sectors. Carrying out really personal and intimate
tasks for other people must dull your own attitudes towards exposing your
body. Perhaps if you work in the sector for a long time you forget what it is
like to be shy or reserved because all the things that make the rest of us
squirm with embarrassment are taken for granted?“
To me Dignity is…