Features

Strangers in unfamiliar environments: Struggles for subjectivity in a dementia care ward

During fieldwork on dementia care in a nursing home, I was struck by the complex and layered orderings of space, time and subjectivity in daily life on the wards, and the struggle this implied for people with dementia.

On her ‘daily rounds’ strolling through the nursing home ward, Mrs Hansen repeatedly expressed great relief and pleasure on meeting a familiar …

Features

Thinking with spirits

During my first visit to Ghana in 1998, I was involved in a research project that looked at possible co-operations between healers and psychiatric clinics. I stayed in the healing camp of Prophet Abbam II, who was known in the area to heal patients with mental health problems. My presence at his healing church attracted many visitors, who kindly brought …

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The fool with the watering can, or asynchronous time travelling

One of the most bewildering and fascinating things about spending time with people with dementia is that they can rapidly travel through time. This was most clear with Mrs B., a daydreaming woman of 86. Her skin was deeply wrinkled and in the nursing home she kept pretty much to herself. One day, I had a long, stretched out conversation …

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“I do want euthanasia, but not now.” Timing a request for euthanasia with dementia in the Netherlands

Sitting on orange seats in the corridor, Ms Verbeek, her niece Hannie and I are waiting for the general practitioner. Ms Verbeek seems a little restless and is quiet. She is 79 years old and lives by herself in a small town in the south of the Netherlands. We have met several times before, sometimes one on one, and sometimes …

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Folding time: walk-talking joint moments in the nursing home

We knew each other from the drop-in centre. Aspects of our daily life concerns had been shared. ‘We’ were drop-in centre participants: the majority had been diagnosed with a form of dementia and were living alone. Others were volunteering, overseeing the daily course of events or, like myself, doing research. We had shared with Willem (74) attempts at keeping up …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Women, Withdrawal, and Antidepressants

In April, an article in the New York Times caused a stir with the headline, “Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit.” The piece begins with a young woman who “would hunch over the kitchen table, steady her hands and draw a bead of liquid from a vial with a small dropper.” Over a period of months of trying …