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Living with Alzheimer'sManaging Memory Loss, Identity, and Illness$
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Renée L. Beard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479800117

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479800117.001.0001

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Being Cognitively Evaluated

Being Cognitively Evaluated

Learning to Medicalize Forgetfulness

(p.85) 4 Being Cognitively Evaluated
Living with Alzheimer's

Renée L. Beard

NYU Press

This chapter depicts the subjective experience of being cognitively evaluated for Alzheimer’s at specialty clinics, which arguably amounts to a degradation ceremony. Drawing on medical sociology’s long history of research on the effect and socially contingent nature of various medical conditions, technologies, and the sciences more broadly, findings demonstrate the myriad factors influencing the interactions between science and its technologies on the one hand, and people seeking medical care on the other. The common experience of cognitive evaluation is one of feeling exposed, confused, and overwhelmed. Everyday personal struggles to manage awkward and foreign symptoms are mirrored by the environment in which patients find themselves evaluated and the highly standardized battery of tests and clinical interactions they experience. Individuals being evaluated thus utilize various strategies to minimize social awkwardness and normalize clinical interactions.

Keywords:   subjective experiences, cognitive evaluation, medical sociology, socially contingent, degradation ceremony, highly standardized, strategies, minimize social awkwardness, normalize clinical interactions, cognitive evaluation

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