The Emergence of the Person in Dementia Research
The purpose of this review is to identify and explore the emerging attention being paid to the individual in dementia research. Following a brief introduction, the review will examine literature which recognises three aspects of the person with dementia: the individual's sense of self; the person's rights; and the value to be gained from a concern with the perspectives of people with dementia. To date the medical model has dominated dementia research. This model tends to reduce the person with dementia to his/her neurobiology or neuropsychology (Cotrell and Schulz 1993). The experience and manifestation of dementia has been attributed solely to the disease process, with a consequent neglect of the psychosocial context surrounding the individual (Lyman 1989). Research on the psychosocial aspects of dementia has concentrated on family carers. Keady (1996) provides a useful categorisation of this research into the following topics: gender and coping style; marital relationships and the impact of dementia; access to information and services; participation in and effectiveness of support groups; adjustment and circumstances surrounding admission into care; and perception of own health needs. No literature focuses on people with dementia.