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"It was then that I thought 'whaat? This is not my Dad": The implications of the 'still the same person narrative for children and young people who have a parent with dementia

Sikes, P and Hall, M (2016) "It was then that I thought 'whaat? This is not my Dad": The implications of the 'still the same person narrative for children and young people who have a parent with dementia. Dementia, 17 (2). pp. 180-198. ISSN 1471-3012

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Abstract

This research used auto/biographical interviews to explore the experiences of 19, 8 to 31 year olds who had a parent with dementia. Thematic analysis revealed challenges occasioned by the master narrative that people with dementia are ‘still’ the same person they were prior to the onset of their condition. While this notion is – rightly – at the heart of person-centered care in dementia services, the ‘still’ discourse conflicts with the experiences of young people. Their accounts suggest that the construction of their parent as the same person is not helpful and that, furthermore, expectations that they will behave and feel towards that parent as they did before are a source of distress in what is already a challenging situation. This paper highlights the need to equip young people with support that acknowledges that their parent may well be drastically different to the Mum or Dad they previously ‘knew’.

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