Former Work Life and People With Dementia

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Abstract

Twelve persons with dementia were interviewed about their former work lives. Their motivation for choosing their past work was influenced by values of their contemporary culture. Those who had come to terms with their illness had positive feelings about their past contributions in their former paid work. However, they often felt that unpaid work was taken for granted and not fully recognized by family or society. Some wrestled with accepting their illness; they were grieving their losses, regardless of former success. Caregivers may use parts of work narratives to elevate the self-esteem and quality of life of persons with dementia.

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