Toward a political model of dementia: Power as compassionate care
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Original versionBehuniak, S.M. (2010) Toward a political model of dementia: Power as compassionate care. Journal of Aging Studies, 24(4), pp.231-240. 10.1016/j.jaging.2010.05.003
During the last twenty years, a person-centered model of dementia has effectively challenged the biomedical model and has revolutionized caregiving practices to be more compassionate. Yet this focus on personhood has not dislodged the biomedical model from its influential place within law, and has instead reinforced the importance of legal personhood—a concept that is dependent on mental capacity. This article is an attempt to shift the discourse away from personhood to power. It uses Rollo May's theory of power as a lens through which to critique the biomedical, social constructionist, and phenomenological models of dementia, and then builds on political approaches to dementia to argue the merits of a political model of dementia based on compassionate power.