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Patients and caregivers often associate dementia with devastation and a loss of productive contribution to society. People with dementia are often depicted as confused individuals struggling through embarrassing episodes, followed by a loss of independence. The burden and devastation of the diagnosis on the families of people with dementia is exacerbated by their assumption of the role of caregiver with inadequate preparation or training. Disability scholars, in contrast, offer physical and occupational therapists a nontragic view of disability that recognizes the importance of countering the stigma and discrimination that too often accompany dementia. This case example of a woman diagnosed with dementia provides insight into the negative impact of these tragic, dependent views of dementia throughout and following the diagnosis process. Viewing her experiences through the lens of disability scholarship can increase awareness and improve the quality of care on the part of both therapists and family caregivers.


Geriatrics | Neurology | Occupational Therapy | Physical Therapy


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics on 20 May 2015, available online: