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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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Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

The Future of Alzheimer’s

(p.215) 8 Forget Me Not
Living with Alzheimer's

Renée L. Beard

NYU Press

Drawing on symbolic interactionism and social constructionism, the final chapter reexamines the biomedicalization of memory loss and sociological illness narratives. Since there is nothing intrinsic to the feelings expressed by these respondents that necessarily and inevitably leads to a definition of forgetfulness as a disease, the chapter contemplates how our current preoccupation with memory loss and its construction as a medical problem shape experiences of Alzheimer’s, the values of society members not directly affected by the condition, and our overarching cultural views on aging. Given the central place of memory in the lives of (many) Americans in modern times, this book asks readers to consider whether or not memory loss being seen primarily (or exclusively) as a medical problem is good for seniors (with or without reports of memory loss), is good for any of us as we ourselves are aging, and is good for society at large.

Keywords:   cultural views on aging, central place of memory, social constructionism, symbolic interactionism, biomedicalization of memory loss, illness narratives, preoccupation with memory loss

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