Alzheimer's disease has not only profound medical consequences for the individual experiencing it but a life-changing impact on those around them. From the moment a person is suspected to be suffering from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, the interactions they encounter progressively change.
Baptiste Brossard's new book Forgetting Items: The Social Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease
(Indiana University Press, 2019) focuses on that social experience of Alzheimer's, delineating the ways disease symptoms manifest and are understood through the interactions between patients and the people around them. Mapping out those interactions takes readers through the offices of geriatricians, into patients' narratives and interviews with caregivers, down the corridors of nursing homes, and into the discourses shaping public policies and media coverage. Revealing the everyday experience of Alzheimer's helps us better understand the depth of its impact and points us toward more knowledgeable, holistic ways to help treat the disease.
In this interview, Dr. Brossard and I discuss the changing social role of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimers. Likewise, we discuss how credibility and deference are key components to the interactions between patients, caregivers, and physicians. I recommend this book for students, professors, and anyone else interested in medical sociology, health and illness, gerontology, and social psychology.
Dr. Baptiste Brossard
received his Ph.D. in sociology at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (2011). His primary areas of research are mental health, sociological theory, qualitative methods and utopian studies. He is currently a Lecturer in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Australian National University.
Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.