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Open Access Showing how they feel: the emotional reflexivity of people with dementia

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

This article explores whether people with dementia demonstrate emotional reflexivity within their personal relationships. Previous research has suggested that they may lose their capacity for reflection as the disease progresses. In turn, it has also been assumed that they lack the reflexive abilities necessary to exercise agency within their daily lives. The authors draw on findings from a qualitative study of everyday decision-making by people with dementia and their spouses undertaken in England. The sample consisted of 21 couples, but to enable emotional reflexivity to be examined in depth, this article focuses on the emotional communication of six people with more advanced dementia. The research found that even when their abilities for deliberation, discourse and social interaction were limited, they could nonetheless demonstrate emotional reflexivity. As they also exhibited a capacity for imaginative agency, this suggests that intersubjectivity can be preserved in dementia even when social skills are apparently lost.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 2017

This article was made available online on June 2, 2015 as a Fast Track article with title: "Showing how they feel: the emotional reflexivity of people with dementia".

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