Alzheimer's Disease, Religion, and the Ethics of Respect for Spirituality A Community Dialogue

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Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) can create an overwhelming set of circumstances for those diagnosed and for those giving care. Suddenly, the future looks different for everyone involved. No longer in control of the future, persons with the diagnosis and their families often look toward whatever in the universe that they believe is in control. Under such circumstances, many diagnosed individuals and their families cope by drawing on spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. Too often, however, spirituality and religion are not adequately respected in the clinical setting, partly because health care professionals may not be aware of their potential importance. In this focus group study, the ways in which spirituality and religion are central to the experience of AD and of caregiving are explored, and the implications for concepts of personhood and respect are highlighted.

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