A Bio-Psycho-Social model enhances young adults' understanding of and beliefs about people with Alzheimer's disease: A case study

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The incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is predicted to grow by multiples in the coming decades, and today's young adults will be formal and/or informal caregivers in unprecedented numbers. Their ability to support the independence and well-being of people with AD will depend on their ability to identify intact social and cognitive abilities, selfhood, and needs of people with AD. This case study, conducted in an undergraduate seminar, provides preliminary, suggestive evidence for the educational advantages of a Bio-Psycho-Social approach to understanding these aspects of people with AD. Findings revealed a striking increase in students' accurate understanding of: (1) the losses due to AD; (2) intact positive qualities in and inaccurate negative stereotypes about people with AD; and (3) important needs of people with AD. These are discussed in light of extant theory. The application of this approach in the case of one student and her family is explored.

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