How do lesbians and gay men experience dementia?

McParland, James C. and Camic, Paul M. (2016) How do lesbians and gay men experience dementia? Dementia: The International Journal for Social Research and Practice. ISSN 1471-3012.

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Introduction: The subjective experience of dementia for lesbian and gay individuals is largely absent from the extant literature. This study aimed to explore what it means to experience dementia in this context given the documented psychosocial influences facing this population.A second aim was to develop understanding of these experiences within dyadic relationships.

Method: Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with lesbian and gay individuals with dementia and people with whom they had a significant relationship and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Three superordinate themes, reflecting characteristics of participants’ experience, were identified: duality in managing dementia, giving yourself away vs. holding onto yourself and relationships as sheltered harbours. Ten subthemes indicated the processes that were adopted to adjust and make sense of the experience of dementia. These included decisions around concealment, ensuring safetyand the promotion of personhood and couplehood. In line with findings for heterosexual couples,partners had an important role in maintaining the identity of the person with dementia.

Conclusions: Results suggest additional and distinct challenges, including experienced and perceived discrimination and heterosexism. In response to these conditions, interviewees worked to resist a ‘double stigma’ of dementia and sexuality. Findings indicated areas of improvement for dementia services, including training in inclusive practice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dementia, gay, lesbian, couples, relational, interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC2574 Gays. Lesbians. Bisexuals
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0512 Psychopathology. Mental disorders > RC0521 Dementia
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Prof Paul M Camic
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 13:49
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2017 18:57

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00