Ageing and Society


The Emergence of the Person in Dementia Research

a1 Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland


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.