Generative acts of people with dementia in a long-term care setting

August 14, 2013


  • Kate de Medeiros

Although generativity is used as a central cultural construct within life course theory to illustrate how older persons create interpersonal ties, it is also tied to key concepts in social exchange theory since generative acts can provide a way for achieving more equity in intergenerational power relationships. Without opportunities for older adults to invest themselves in younger generations, they may no longer feel needed within their family or community. In this article, we discuss the relationship of generativity and dementia through the generative activities of older persons with cognitive decline. Field notes from 8 months of research in a dementia-care setting as well as interviews with 20 residents were thematically analyzed to identify: (a) generative acts among people with dementia; (b) residents' expressions regarding giving to others; and (c) barriers to generativity. Examining generativity among people with dementia requires that one considers the subjective experience of the condition and understands that many social behaviors remain intact irrespective of any quantified cognitive loss (captured here through the use of case examples).

Dementia (London), 14(4), 409-17. doi: 10.1177/1471301213498246

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  • Case Studies/ Qualitative Research
  • Chronic Illness/ Disability
  • Families/Caregiving