Families, relationships and the impact of dementia — insights into the ‘ties that bind’

Dot Weaks, Heather Wilkinson and Shirley Davidson

in Families in society

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9781861346438
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302292 | DOI:
Families, relationships and the impact of dementia — insights into the ‘ties that bind’

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This chapter focuses more specifically on the effect of a particular disease diagnosis on relationships within a longer-term marriage. It presents two case studies where one partner, in both cases a man, has been diagnosed with dementia. It takes a social constructionist perspective in relation to the definition and impact of dementia and concentrates on how boundaries and relationships are co-constructed through the illness trajectory. In one case, new roles seemed to be rather imposed by the partner without dementia, effectively excluding the affected spouse from meaningful engagement in family decision making. This seemed to result in Angus seeking new social contacts outside the family through a support group for people affected by dementia. By contrast, for the other, a boundary seemed to be constructed around the family to protect the person from the outside and the revelation of his diagnosis to others.

Keywords: disease diagnosis; dementia; social exclusion; family decision making; social contracts

Chapter.  7521 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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