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Caring for demented patients

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According to E.H. Erikson, the developmental task of old age consists of looking back and remembering one's life, accepting and taking responsibility for the past, imagining the future, and living toward death. Dealing with this final life crisis and achieving wholeness and meaning is a difficult task for the healthy person, and it is vastly more difficult for the elderly person with dementia. Those who care for elderly patients with dementia must remember for them, see their future as they would have seen it, and know and respect their philosophy of life. They must also know how to communicate with their patients in order to reach them, a task that is often arduous and frustrating. The patient's experience of wholeness and meaning must be promoted during all caregiving activities. Caregivers must be encouraged to experience their patients as unique and valuable persons.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Advanced Nursing, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: 1996-04-01

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