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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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Everyday Life with Diagnosis

Everyday Life with Diagnosis

The New Normal

(p.136) 6 Everyday Life with Diagnosis
Living with Alzheimer's

Renée L. Beard

NYU Press

Interviews with those who joined support groups and research studies reveal that persons with AD strategically employ the diagnostic label (or not) as they see fit. Study participants are not passive recipients of the disease label; rather they deliberately embark upon the path of becoming Alzheimer’s patients. Diagnosis causes increased tension over the management of self and others as individuals undergo considerable socialization into medicalized interpretations of their experiences. Most of the forgetful respondents in this study ultimately help accomplish the goal of modern medicine, as support groups and research studies model how to monitor and control both themselves and each other through a biomedical lens. Yet this involvement also allows participants to feel proactive in the face of memory impairment and normalize their often erratic behaviors and experiences. By placing hope in finding a cure and by participating in research, patients support and potentially shape biomedicine.

Keywords:   proactive, biomedicine, normalize, biomedical lens, medicalized interpretations, becoming Alzheimer’s patients, disease label, strategically employ, research studies, support groups

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