“S/He Is Sick”: The Discourse of Dementia and Its Influences on Daily Care Practices

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:10
Oral Presentation
Li-Fang LIANG, Institute of Health and Welfare Policy, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan
In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that dementia has become a vital global disease in its report, Dementia: a Public Health Priority. The report not only signifies the propaganda of WHO but also has its influences on local practices widely around the world.

In contrast to the medical term, dementia, which diagnoses the certain symptoms of elderly as disease, the local Taiwanese culture used to treat them as the natural processes of aging. However, the diagnoses of dementia have increased in the medical practices in past years. In addition, the language use of dementia has become common in daily settings and results in the unexpected consequences.

The institutional ethnographic investigation is anchored in the standpoint of elderly who are diagnosed as dementia patients. Relying upon interviews and participant observation, this study explores how the diagnosis of dementia and the relevant discourses affects the elderly’s experiences of being cared for. Through describing the embodied work of the elderly and their care givers, I aim to demonstrate that dementia is not only a medical diagnosis. The specific moment of being diagnosed activates a serious of trans-local activities, which are coordinated through the ruling discourse of dementia. In this proposed study, I focus on the care arrangements, care practices and care relationships, and how they are shaped by the discourse of dementia.