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Looking ahead to a future with Alzheimer's disease: coping with the unknown

  • Rosalie Marie Ashworth (a1)

Abstract

The conceptualisation of Alzheimer's disease as an illness with ‘no future’ exposes people with the condition to significant fear and stress. Therefore, exploring how people look ahead to the future in the face of Alzheimer's disease is of foremost importance. Semi-structured interviews (N = 14) explored the future outlook of people with early (N = 5) and late-onset (N = 7) Alzheimer's disease and those who support them (N = 14). Thematic analysis identified how participants managed their changing futures through focusing on positive information, and taking ‘one day at a time’. Younger and older people shared similar future outlook and subsequent coping strategies, as predicted by Carstensen's Socioemotional Selectivity Theory. Both people with Alzheimer's disease and those who support them avoided looking far ahead as a way of managing the uncertain future, and had little awareness of future planning in the context of current policies. Such avoidance suggests that policy which encourages future planning should consider its utility and explore ways of helping people to plan, whilst focusing on daily living.

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Looking ahead to a future with Alzheimer's disease: coping with the unknown

  • Rosalie Marie Ashworth (a1)

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