Library Home eChapter Understanding Their Stories

Understanding Their Stories




  • Explains why the stories of people who have Alzheimer's are difficult to listen to
  • Discusses why a person shouldn't assume a story is untrue
  • Questions and guidance to follow and try to respond and recognize the purpose behind their story
  • Emphasises the importance and value of responding sympathetically

This chapter deals with the stories that people with Alzheimer's tell about themselves. These can be particularly difficult to cope with unless the carer looks beyond the fact that they simply aren't true and start recognising the purposes that they serve for their tellers, which is what this chapter guides and encouragers the reader to do.


Contents include

  • Why these stories are often difficult to listen to
  • Don't automatically assume a story is untrue
    • Some stories may be substantially true
    • However fantastic the story, the person isn't lying
  • Recognise and respond to the purpose behind the story
    • Storytelling as a means of interaction
    • 'My story tells you that I am still someone of value'
    • Stories of wish fulfilment
    • Claiming our sympathy
    • Using one subject to talk about another - stories as metaphor
  • The value of responding sympathetically
    • Constructing an identity out of the fragments to hand
    • Their need for our sympathetic support
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Author / Editor Biographies

Dr Jane Crisp lectures in communication, media studies and women's studies. Her experiences with her own mother, who is now in an advanced stage of dementia, first suggested to her the possibility of drawing on her professional background to help people who are dementing and those who care for them. For the last five years Jane has been working on the language of people who are dementing and on strategies for making sense of this language. She has given talks on this work and had articles published both in Australia and overseas. During 1994 she spent six months in France, meeting and exchangi...

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