We take note of all the details of a disease and yet make no account of the marvels of health.
This is quoted in Zeigel's book 'I'm Still Here'. It came to mind when I was taking part in a discussion on an online forum about a common phenomenon (we know it's common as many carers have reported it) which occurs when a person with dementia is confronted with a professional or, less commonly, with someone they don't know, and puts on a 'public face' presenting themselves, quite convincingly. as 'fine', as a person who has no particular problems.
This is understandably frustrating to carers, particularly those who know that when they are alone again with the person they care for, they will have to endure aggression and, sometimes, physical violence. It's also frustrating if they have anticipated that when the professional sees the real problems, useful support will be forthcoming (of course, a positive outcome is by no means guaranteed even if the real problems are observed!).
I was interested in the fact that these brain-damaged people, whose behaviour is normally reckoned to be entirely beyond their control, are apparently capable of deciding on some level to be on their best behaviour, sometimes throughout a lengthy conversation. (It's very common for people, with and without dementia, to answer that they're fine when asked how they are, but we're talking about something much more elaborate).
Whilst recognising the frustration, I was surprised that people didn't seem to realise how remarkable this was. If a person can have this control in some situations, why not in others? Could we, perhaps, persuade them to behave differently in other situations?
Anyway, I was reminded very strongly of the Montessori quote when I read some of the discussion.