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Giving Them a Voice: Challenges to Narrative Agency in People with Dementia

Cognition, Development, and Educational Psychology Department, University of Barcelona, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geriatrics 2019, 4(1), 20;
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 10 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Impairment)
PDF [219 KB, uploaded 12 February 2019]


In this paper, we argue that the capacity for narrative agency is significantly compromised in individuals with dementia due to at least three factors: (a) Dementia itself, which causes increasing difficulties in constructing and articulating coherent and meaningful stories, and sharing them with others; (b) cultural narratives about dementia, which promote an extremely negative and pessimistic view of those with the disease; and (c) the convergence of these two last factors, which can lead to caregiving interactions that do not support storytelling and can even stop people with dementia from telling stories. We highlight the importance of narrative care, which involves interventions that focus on the person and their unique life narrative. In narrative care, people with dementia are treated not as impaired patients defined by the disease, but as human beings. In doing so, people with dementia can have their own voices back, which is silenced and discredited so many times. View Full-Text
Keywords: person-centered care; dementia; narrative care person-centered care; dementia; narrative care
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Villar, F.; Serrat, R.; Bravo-Segal, S. Giving Them a Voice: Challenges to Narrative Agency in People with Dementia. Geriatrics 2019, 4, 20.

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