An Existential Approach to Dementia

  • Richard ChestonEmail author
  • Gary Christopher


People living with dementia continually face reminders of their illness, be it subtle, insidious failures in carrying out everyday tasks, being asked to complete a cognitive assessment that explicitly tests their deterioration, or hearing a news report on the radio about exciting new drug discoveries for dementia. In this book, we have argued that people defend themselves in different ways against the emotional disequilibrium that these existential reminders would otherwise create. Framing dementia as a threat has many advantages. There are conceptual benefits from binding together what until now have been disparate areas of research. This perspective also opens up new methodological approaches and theoretical insights. Most importantly it emphasises the need to focus care on sustaining those psychological resources that buffer people against the threat. A Terror Management Approach to dementia emphasises the need for services to provide post-diagnostic support that helps people adjust to their diagnosis.


Dementia Alzheimer’s disease Existential threat Post-diagnostic support Terror Management Theory 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health and Social SciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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