Episode 12 Friendship Beyond Dementia – the Anthropology of Aging with Dr. Janelle Taylor

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Dr. Janelle Taylor (Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor)

Dementia changes not only memory but identity and social roles, as well. As the fabric of who we are changes shape, our culturally-inscribed ideas about aging, personhood, and health can influence whether we experience aging as crisis or whether we develop new aspects of ourselves.

Medical Anthropologist Dr. Janelle Taylor, a professor of anthropology at University of Washington, explores aging as a cultural phenomenon, made easier or harder depending on our expectations of friends and families and our beliefs about what makes us a person. In particular, Dr. Taylor researches how successful friendships adapt in the face of dementia and why those relationships are crucial to patients and their family caregivers.

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For more information on Dr. Janelle Taylor:

Dr. Taylor’s professional webpage: https://anthropology.washington.edu/people/janelle-s-taylor

Dr. Taylor’s Academia.edu webpage: https://washington.academia.edu/JanelleTaylor

More information on the material discussed in this episode:

Mother and daughter holding hands (Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor)

An Interview with Dr. Taylor on her research: http://www.washington.edu/news/2017/07/03/q-a-janelle-taylor-on-exemplary-friends-of-people-with-dementia/

https://theconversation.com/how-being-friends-with-someone-who-has-dementia-can-be-good-for-you-both-76750

Article by Dr. Taylor, “Engaging with Dementia”: http://rdcu.be/tFtH

Recommended book about palliative care and aging: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Hilde Lindemann’s philosophy book about the moral practice of “initiating human beings into personhood and then holding them there”: Holding and Letting Go: The Social Practice of Personal Identities

Cheryl Mattingly is a Professor of Anthropology who studies issues faced by families of children with severe chronic illness, such as how to maintain health and meaning and how everyday life becomes a site of dealing with serious moral issues: http://dornsife.usc.edu/cherylmattingly/

Dr. Mattingly’s recent book: The Paradox of Hope: Journeys through a Clinical Borderland

Gerontologist and Professor of Theater Anne Basting who won a MacArthur award to support her work in applied arts in long-term care, aging, and dementia: http://anne-basting.com/welcome/

An article referencing Shellee Colen’s term “stratified reproduction” to explain the way caregiving gets shifted to poorer and more marginalized women: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2017/05/31/teaching-stratified-reproduction-in-practice/

Organizations and other resources about the Anthropology of Aging:

AAGE Association for Anthropology, Aging, Gerontology and the Life Course: https://anthropologyandgerontology.com/

Anthropology and Aging (Official Journal of AAGE): https://anthro-age.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/anthro-age

 

 


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