– I discovered it by chance and of course it is great fun. There is not much written about people with dementia who tell their life story. It shows that there is great interest in the life story research and that the article contains an important message.
Journal of Advanced Nursing, JAN, is in fifth place out of 107 ranked journals in nursing in the world. The magazine is read by everyone working with research in nursing worldwide.
Still curious about life
In the study, nine people with Alzheimer's disease tell their lives stories and four dimensions became clear.
The first dimension shows that they feel gratitude and contentment of life, even if life also periodically been difficult.
The second dimension shows the importance of socializing and having contact with family and friends, and to feel a social participation in the community.
– It is important to create opportunities for people with Alzheimer's disease to be able to keep in touch with others, even though the disease progresses. Several of the participants in this study also emphasized the importance of closeness to nature and to her childhood home, says Eva Karlsson.
To maintain self-esteem and confidence in their own ability was the third dimension of the persons life stories. It was clear that people felt the pride and joy of what they accomplished and experienced in their life, and they do not let the illness overshadow their self-esteem and confidence, despite the challenges posed by the disease.
The fourth dimension of life-story is about a desire for continued personal development. Despite the fact that people living with a disease that breaks down the cognitive functions, were still curious about life, wanted to evolve and gain new experiences.
Supports memory and identity
Eva Karlsson believes that life story is an essential tool for anyone who has Alzheimer's disease and to their families, and for the opportunity to engage in a person-centered care. Life story is a way to support memory and identity.
This study shows the importance of starting with people's own stories and experiences of their lives.
– It provides an opportunity for increased participation and opportunities for designing care, products and services based on people's needs and experiences of their disease.
Eva Karlsson has been involved in two international EU project to support people with dementia who got to try digital solutions that support memory.
Read more about the projects Memory Lane and COGKNOW on her personal page.