Recovering a life in dementia : exploring the lived experiences of people living with dementia and their caregivers
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Although dementia is formally classified as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the specific and unique nature, characteristics and care needs of people living with dementia are rarely included in broader mental health discourses. As the global focus on mental health rightfully gains momentum, so too has the application of a more progressive and holistic approach to mental health, known as a recovery orientation. While a recovery orientation is increasingly seen as a leading approach to mental health care, its application in the context of dementia remains largely unexplored. The focus of my doctoral research is to understand how people living with dementia and their loved ones “recover a life in dementia” in terms of their hopes and vision for a meaningful and optimal life, in spite of and because of their dementia. In accordance with Royal Roads University Doctor of Social Sciences program requirements, this synthesis paper includes: a brief summary of my qualitative research study, the rationale for my approved dissertation format (i.e., dissertation by portfolio), and a description of my three approved portfolio elements (i.e., a traditional manuscript, a commentary article, and a manuscript for a public talk), which are provided in the appendices.
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