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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Living with early stage Alzheimer’s disease : what helps, what hinders Bowen-Roberts, Kathryn F.

Abstract

It is only in the last 25 years that Alzheimer's disease has garnered much interest in the world of research. Most of this has been of a quantitative nature, focusing on etiology, treatment, genetics, characteristics, and behavioural aspects of the disease. The purpose of this study was to examine the increasingly salient but comparatively under-researched issue of Alzheimer's disease from the perspective of the affected individual. An exploratory study was conducted in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia with 8 participants who had been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's disease, currently in the early stages. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants via referrals, personal contact, and networking. Using the qualitative approach of Critical Incident Technique, participants were interviewed individually twice and their accounts were examined. Specifically, the goal of this study was to enrich the understanding of the experience of living with early stage Alzheimer's disease by developing a set of categories describing those factors that help and hinder individuals' ability to live with their illness. Implications for counselling affected individuals and their families and directions for future research were discussed. It was concluded that the resulting categories can be utilised in numerous ways for those living with Alzheimer's disease as well as those working with them, both formally and informally.

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