Title of ArticleDisrupting dehumanising and intersecting patterns of modernity with a relational ethic of caring
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sGail Mitchell, Sherry L. Dupuis, Pia Kontos, Christine Jonas-Simpson and Julia Gray
ReferenceVolume 10, Issue 1, Article 2
Date of PublicationMay 2020
KeywordsCritique, dehumanising patterns, dementia, discourse, relational caring, stigma

Background: This article describes two dehumanising patterns associated with modern culture and their consequences of stigma and suffering for persons living with dementia: the increasing division, judgment and exclusion of persons based on difference, disability, and undesirability; and the increasing attention to management and control, and their links with ageism, healthism and consumerism. These patterns have been established in media, policies, discourses and care practices, and have profound and harmful consequences for persons living with dementia.

Aim: Inspired by philosophers Foster and Foucault, we examine societal patterns that intensify stigma and suffering for persons living with dementia through a critical lens. We then turn to a relational model of citizenship in order to advance an alternative care ethic. Subsequently, we provide examples for relational practices and legacies that model a relational care ethic and thereby disrupt the harmful patterns of modern culture.

Conclusion: This article argues that relational practices that foster relational citizenship and relational caring create a more humane world for persons living with memory loss.

Implications for practice development: Longstanding concerns about stigmatising attitudes and inhumane care practices have prompted urgent calls for culture change in dementia and long-term care. Most recently, researchers and professionals have emphasised the relational nature of caring and advocate for the adoption of relational caring practices. This article critiques the harmful patterns of modern culture that threaten the quality of care and quality of life, and offers relational practice possibilities for enhancing care and life quality, and honouring the full citizenship of persons living with dementia.

This article by Gail Mitchell, Sherry L. Dupuis, Pia Kontos, Christine Jonas-Simpson and Julia Gray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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