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The Lived Experience of Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease: A Three-Year Longitudinal Phenomenological Case Study

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Abstract The purpose of this study was to explore how one person experienced the early years of dementia as she was living through the pre-clinical and earlyclinical stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Interviews were held onfour occasions over a period of three years. The data were analyzed usingthe descriptive phenomenological psychological method, in which theresearcher approached the data from a caring perspective. The livedexperience of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease showed to be acomplex transitional phenomenon that involves a dynamic process of personaladjustment. The process is set in motion as the participant receives thediagnosis and will eventually lead her towards a state of increased opennessand receptiveness toward the disease. The results describe this process asit unfolds in the context of the overall experience, and the variousadjustments that the participant undertakes. Some reflections concerning theplausible needs of patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s diseaseare included in the discussion.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Divisionof Nursing, Karolinska Institute Huddinge Sweden ; 2: Saybrook University San Francisco, CA USA


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