Remembering My Hat

8th October 2011

Theorising Age in Maastricht: Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 16:47
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Back to note form, sorry.

Symposium on critical approaches to dementia, ageing and identity

Wendy Richards
Sleep and dementia [not their titles, throughout, I’m summarising]

A really interesting paper on the different meanings of sleep to carers of people with dementia, people with dementia and their families, written up already in Sociologlical Research Online. [get a copy]

(cc brianisinyou)

Julia Twigg
Clothing and dementia

Clothing associated fashion and frivolity, not world of dementia. Identity and display, which needs active subjectivity. Dementia erodes that. Evidence that people with dementia do often lose interest in clothes. But new views of dementia after Kitwood emphasise supporting subjectivity even through dementia.

Kontos embodied selfhood. String of pearls over the bib story.

Clothes affect how we move and sit. Helps remind people who they are. Care homes favour comfort and ease. But a man who has always worn shirt and tie may not feel comfortable in casualwear. Comfort is also about social comfort, being at ease with your social presentation.

Clothes as closest-in environment, especially with the closing in of the world with extreme frailty. Clothes can help promote benign interactions w PWD, continuity of person.

Clothing often very important to relatives too. ‘She would never have worn that’. One of the few presents you can give someone with dementia [as in the film Mimi show in the opening to the conference]

Foucault standardised bodies. Concern for clothes for PWD can be malign. Lee-Trewick ‘lounge standard’ residents, specific kind of femininity.

Imputed wishes but what if the person has changed therir mind? What about comfort and ease? Is there truth in the body when there is no truth  if the mind?

Richard Ward, Hair and Dementia

Hair and Care project


Ordinary hair care is headwork only. Body literally cloaked off. But in haircare for people with dementia, the body keeps intruding

Cover of easily Kitwood book ‘person to person’ shows someone transformed by grooming (before and after picture). Grooming as way off maintaining worth. If identity is performative, how do the identities of people with dementia get performed?

NICE dementia guidelines make no mention of grooming and presentation

Hannah Zellig
Poetry and dementia

Ordinary language of dementia is poetic: Forests of neurons, tangles of plaques. Poetry as way of apprehending dementia which is so baffling and awful.

‘Who is that can tell me who I am?’ King Lear

Poems about dementia:

  • The Solitary by Vuyelwa Carlin (2008) – Ellen and Lydia [I think more, not sure whether whole book is poems about dementia, might be]
  • ‘Incredible shrinking brain’ diminishing poem by Laws each version more words cut out, like dementia
  • ‘Somewhat unravelled’ by Jo Shapcott (2010) from Of Mutability

Precise language of poetry  and the loss of language in dementia is a fantastic paradox.

(Sheila Peace) Blank verse perhaps a particularly appropriate form because of blankness of dementia

(Hannah) Yes. There’s also some other poetry with very tight rhymes, brings you up against an endstop abruptly
Also ike the experience of dementia.

Is there poetry written by poets who developed dementia? Don’t know, would be very interesting if so.


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