'Isn't it nice that people call us here? We don't even live here'. The sense of Home in later Life for people living with Dementia and their Spouses
Denise de Waal
(University of Bradford )
Paper short abstract:
I will question the assumption of a higher quality of life facilitated by ageing in place for people with dementia and their spouses, by exploring their sense of home in connection to the changeable meaning of their home environment.
Paper long abstract:
Aging in place has been an important part of UK policy on aging for a long time. It aims at supporting and encouraging elderly to live at home as long as possible, subsequently creating a higher well-being for the elderly and safe the government money (Sixsmith and Sixsmith 2008). People with dementia and their spouses are especially advised to age in their familiar home environment and avoid making big changes; the familiar environment would work reassuring (NHS 2015). 'Isn't it nice that people call us here? We don't even live here' says Mary to Dan. They are sitting in the dining room of the house they have been living in for forty years. Over the last couple of years their sense of home has changed several times while multiple transitions took place in their daily lives; being diagnosed with dementia, becoming a carer, making alterations to the home, moving into care and Mary passing away. Drawing up on ethnographic fieldwork at the houses of five couples of whom one has got dementia and co-morbidities and the partner is the primary carer in England, I will illustrate how their sense of home changed over time when going through transitions connected to age, illnesses and relationships, creating reassurance, insecurity and anxiety. This puts into question the assumption of a higher quality life facilitated by aging in place.
Staying, moving, (re)settling: transitioning practices, actors and places of care in later life [Age and Generations Network]