Presentation Title

Alzheimer’s Disease: Personhood, Relationship, and Milieu

Presenter's Name(s)

Hannah L. TaylorFollow

Abstract

Biomedicine defines Alzheimer disease, informing treatment, shaping relationships and overall experience of the disease. Biomedicalization of Alzheimer’s disease tends to the person as an singular unit defined by an unsolved pathology, cognitive impairment, and progressive decline in memory, language, and daily activities. Its lens pertains less to the social aspects of the disease, personhood and social personae, which are often characterized by inferiority in relationships, loss of rights, objectification, infantilization, and management by healthcare professionals. Biomedical research has added valuable information, however, a broader insight into what it means to live with AD is needed as it is far more than a biomedical subject. This opens the door for social research to explore alternative AD definitions and approaches in personhood, relationships, and environment. Generally, what does social research have to say about the experience of AD? To what extent can people living with AD maintain a sense of personhood under person-centered care? How are relationships in a non-biomedical context defined and to what extent do they carry the biomedical that AD is pathological, individual, abnormal, and dysfunctional? What design developments exist and to what extent do they meet these goals, enhancing care for those living with AD? Scholarly articles in the disciplines of social gerontology, social and humanistic psychology, sociology, medical sociology, and philosophy were reviewed. Grey literature was reviewed, the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2019 Update and the 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations. Relevant studies were selected from electronic databases, ProQuest, JSTOR, UVM Howe Library search engine, bibliographies, and journals such as the Gerontologist and Ageing and Society. Studies published 1980 to present in English on the topic of personhood, person-centered care, caregiving, relationships and social environment were selected.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Dale Jaffe

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Health and Society

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Personhood, Relationship, and Milieu

Biomedicine defines Alzheimer disease, informing treatment, shaping relationships and overall experience of the disease. Biomedicalization of Alzheimer’s disease tends to the person as an singular unit defined by an unsolved pathology, cognitive impairment, and progressive decline in memory, language, and daily activities. Its lens pertains less to the social aspects of the disease, personhood and social personae, which are often characterized by inferiority in relationships, loss of rights, objectification, infantilization, and management by healthcare professionals. Biomedical research has added valuable information, however, a broader insight into what it means to live with AD is needed as it is far more than a biomedical subject. This opens the door for social research to explore alternative AD definitions and approaches in personhood, relationships, and environment. Generally, what does social research have to say about the experience of AD? To what extent can people living with AD maintain a sense of personhood under person-centered care? How are relationships in a non-biomedical context defined and to what extent do they carry the biomedical that AD is pathological, individual, abnormal, and dysfunctional? What design developments exist and to what extent do they meet these goals, enhancing care for those living with AD? Scholarly articles in the disciplines of social gerontology, social and humanistic psychology, sociology, medical sociology, and philosophy were reviewed. Grey literature was reviewed, the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2019 Update and the 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations. Relevant studies were selected from electronic databases, ProQuest, JSTOR, UVM Howe Library search engine, bibliographies, and journals such as the Gerontologist and Ageing and Society. Studies published 1980 to present in English on the topic of personhood, person-centered care, caregiving, relationships and social environment were selected.