Sense of Self among Persons with Advanced Dementia

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Astrid Norberg


As humans, we have a sense of self, and at best, we are proud of our abilities and feel respected by other persons. Persons with dementia have been regarded losing their self. Quantitative research has shown that this is true, while qualitative research has shown that parts of self are severely affected while other parts remain even among persons with advanced dementia. These persons sometimes keep feeling “still the same” as before getting dementia. Their memory deficits help as does support from other persons. The theory of three aspects of self by the psychologists Rom Harré and Steven Sabat are presented, that is, the feeling that we are, who we are, and who we are together with other persons. Based on empirical research, suggestions will be given about how by promoting experiences of at-homeness, dignity, and being oneself related to others we can help persons with advanced dementia experience themselves as valuable persons.


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Chapter 13