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Views of life and sense of identity in people with Alzheimer's disease
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences.
Ersta Sköndal university college, Stockholm, Sweden.
2010 (English)In: Ageing & Society, ISSN 0144-686X, E-ISSN 1469-1779, Vol. 30, no 7, p. 1257-1278Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Making it possible for people with Alzheimer's disease to retain a sense of identity during the process of the disease poses a great challenge to care-givers, professionals and family carers. The aim of this study is to elucidate the role of the view of life of people with Alzheimer's in framing their sense of identity. Is their view of life a vital aspect of their sense of identity? ‘View of life’ was interpreted as a vital aspect of sense of identity, understood as the individual's beliefs about their life history and about the attributes that characterised them. Twenty-one people with mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer's disease were interviewed about their life story. The narratives were interpreted using a phenomenological hermeneutic method. By telling their life story, the participants also narrated their view of life, i.e. their conception of reality, their central system of values and their basic emotional attitudes. By their own accounts, the origins of the narrators' central values and basic emotional attitudes were established in early life. They also expressed a sense of meaningfulness and continuity when looking back on their lives. The findings suggest that for a care-giver or confidant, having knowledge of a person with dementia's view of life is valuable when seeking to confirm that person's sense of identity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge university press , 2010. Vol. 30, no 7, p. 1257-1278
Keyword [en]
Alzheimer's disease, identity, life story, view of life, interviews, phenomenological hermeneutics
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Geriatrics Psychiatry Nursing Communication Studies
Research subject
Medicine; Nursing Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-11950DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X10000309ISI: 000283407000009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-77957257011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-11950DiVA: diva2:354315
Available from: 2010-09-30 Created: 2010-09-30 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The significance of view of life in persons with Alzheimer's disease
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The significance of view of life in persons with Alzheimer's disease
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Making it possible for persons with Alzheimer‟s disease (AD) to retain a sense of identity and personal worth during the process of the disease poses a great challenge to caregivers. The objective of the study was to investigate if the view of life of persons with AD could be understood in the frame of their life story and to elucidate the role of view of life in connection to their sense of identity. The view of life of an individual is defined as a conception of reality, a central system of values and a basic emotional attitude.Twenty-one persons with mild to moderate stages of AD were interviewed about their life story and their view of life. The narratives were interpreted using a phenomenological hermeneutic method.Despite their cognitive deterioration it was possible to understand the view of life of the participants in the frame of their life story. Their view of life was not erased by the disease. No exceptional characteristics that could be traced to AD were found in the participants‟ view of life. Their view of life seemed to guide them towards selecting mainly emotionally powerful and value-oriented memories. The origins of their present central values and basic emotional attitude were interpreted to have been established already in early life. A sense of meaningfulness and continuity when looking back on life was also expressed. Despite progressive memory loss and cognitive deterioration, the participants‟ view of life was interpreted as a vital aspect of their sense of identity.The study implicates that knowledge of the view of life of persons with AD is valuable for confirming and supporting their sense of identity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2010. p. 81
Keyword
Alzheimer's disease; identity; life story; view of life, interview, phenomenological hermeneutics
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Communication Studies Nursing
Research subject
Nursing Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-12409 (URN)
Available from: 2010-11-04 Created: 2010-11-04 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Westius, AndersKallenberg, Kjell

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