Managing Sense of Self:Coping in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease
AbstractDespite an increasing interest in the experiences of people who have been diagnosed with dementia, there is still a dearth of research into how people cope with the onset of the illness. This study uses qualitative methodology to examine the appraisals and coping processes of 20 men diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the men and their wives. These were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The men’s accounts suggested that they attempted to manage their sense of self by balancing their wish to maintain a prior sense of self against their need to reappraise and construct a new sense of self. This seemed to be an ongoing, circular process. Ways in which services can assist men in the process of managing their sense of self are explored.