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Preservation of self in people with dementia living in residential care: A socio-biographical approach.

By Claire A. Surr

Abstract

NoThe maintenance of self in dementia is associated with socio-biographical factors. The theoretical literature suggests that interpersonal relationships, the social context, and the generation of stories are important in maintenance of self. Empirical research on self in dementia supports this but has been predominantly conducted with participants living in the community. Living in residential care brings additional threats to self. This paper presents a study examining the relevance of a socio-biographical theory of self to people with dementia living in residential care. Between 3 and 8 tape-recorded and transcribed unstructured interviews were conducted with 14 people with dementia who were living in 4 residential homes throughout England and Wales, over a 6-24-month period. They were analysed using an interpretive biographical methodology. The results provide evidence to support the relevance of a socio-biographical theory of self to this group. Relationships with family, other residents and care home staff were important for maintenance of self. Social roles related to work, being part of a family, caring for others and being cared for, were particularly significant for self in this group. The creation of a life story, stories of selected life events, and the telling of stories with possible metaphorical interpretations were also important for the maintenance of self. The results also suggest that psychological and embodied factors may be relevant to the self in dementia. The study suggests that staff working in residential homes should consider these elements if they are to provide care that supports maintenance of self for people with dementia. Implications for future research are discussed

Topics: Alzheimer disease, Nervous system diseases, Degenerative disease, Social identity, Self, Senile dementia, Preservation, Care
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.08.025
OAI identifier: oai:bradscholars.brad.ac.uk:10454/3987
Provided by: Bradford Scholars
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