HeartMind of Alzheimer's disease
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Using Scheper-Hughes and Locke's "Mindful Body" (1987) as a theoretical framework, this thesis seeks to examine how Alzheimer's disease (1) impacts Chinese and Taiwanese American elders and their caregivers, (2) is felt through the relationships and social interactions of the Chinese and Taiwanese American individuals interviewed, and (3) is experienced through the complex overlapping of culture, politics, and institutions in Boston and beyond. In order to understand the impact of Alzheimer's disease on Chinese and Taiwanese American families living in Boston, qualitative interviews of health care professionals, community members, Chinese and Taiwanese American elderly, and Alzheimer's disease caregivers were conducted and analyzed. Furthermore, participant observation at a Chinese American adult day health center, dementia review meetings, and various public lectures on Alzheimer's disease and the Chinese and Taiwanese American communities were attended. This case study demonstrates that for the Chinese and Taiwanese American communities, Alzheimer's disease is a social disease. It exists within family relationships of elder and caregiver, and for families, it is the gradual degeneration of these relationships that is at the heart of meaning of this illness' lived-experience.