Title

The Role of Material Objects in the Lives of People with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Presenter Information

Jayne Yatczak

Start Time

24-10-2008 10:10 AM

End Time

24-10-2008 10:40 AM

Abstract

Objects can be defined as the material things people encounter, interact with and use. The objects that we use during our engagement in everyday occupations are fundamental to the construction and maintenance of self identity. Many of the objects we interact with on a daily basis provide information about the self to ourselves and to others. Objects assist with the credible, effective performance of an identity. The belief that people with Alzheimer's disease experience a loss of self related to the disease is prevalent. As the disease progresses cognitive abilities decline and engagement in familiar occupations diminishes. The person that once was, is believed to be lost; lost to themselves and to those who know them best. Many studies have approached the maintenance of self in people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) from a sociolinguistic perspective. The use of objects in the study of self in people with ADRD provides an opportunity to explore the construction and maintenance of self with individuals who are nonverbal or in a more advanced stage of the disease. This qualitative study used the symbolic interactionism of George Herbert Mead to further understanding of the relationship between people with ADRD and their engagement with objects. This research used the method of photo novella. Photographs were then employed to elicit data during in-depth interviews. Photonovella is a means to tell a story through pictures and has been praised for its superiority to the interview-only-method of data collection. Findings highlight the continued need for the involvement of people with ADRD with their material world providing a form of "reality orientation" and meeting a need for neurological stimulation as higher level cognitive ability declines. A decrease in the physical abilities needed for active engagement was found to negatively affect the attitude about material possessions. The research emphasizes the role of objects in providing individuals with ADRD with opportunities to act, to exhibit agency and present a demonstrable self to the self and to others which occurs below the level of language. This study supports the use of material objects as another form and expression of selfhood.

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Oct 24th, 10:10 AM Oct 24th, 10:40 AM

The Role of Material Objects in the Lives of People with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Objects can be defined as the material things people encounter, interact with and use. The objects that we use during our engagement in everyday occupations are fundamental to the construction and maintenance of self identity. Many of the objects we interact with on a daily basis provide information about the self to ourselves and to others. Objects assist with the credible, effective performance of an identity. The belief that people with Alzheimer's disease experience a loss of self related to the disease is prevalent. As the disease progresses cognitive abilities decline and engagement in familiar occupations diminishes. The person that once was, is believed to be lost; lost to themselves and to those who know them best. Many studies have approached the maintenance of self in people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) from a sociolinguistic perspective. The use of objects in the study of self in people with ADRD provides an opportunity to explore the construction and maintenance of self with individuals who are nonverbal or in a more advanced stage of the disease. This qualitative study used the symbolic interactionism of George Herbert Mead to further understanding of the relationship between people with ADRD and their engagement with objects. This research used the method of photo novella. Photographs were then employed to elicit data during in-depth interviews. Photonovella is a means to tell a story through pictures and has been praised for its superiority to the interview-only-method of data collection. Findings highlight the continued need for the involvement of people with ADRD with their material world providing a form of "reality orientation" and meeting a need for neurological stimulation as higher level cognitive ability declines. A decrease in the physical abilities needed for active engagement was found to negatively affect the attitude about material possessions. The research emphasizes the role of objects in providing individuals with ADRD with opportunities to act, to exhibit agency and present a demonstrable self to the self and to others which occurs below the level of language. This study supports the use of material objects as another form and expression of selfhood.