Date of Award


Call Number

BF371 .D54 2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Paula Gerstenblatt,Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Fineran,Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Kirkpatrick


Brain health and importance of social engagement, theories of aging and identity, storytelling approaches for people with AD(alzheimer's disease), dignity therapy, USM Aging Initiative, Arts and Humanities, Health and Wellness


There are an estimated five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease; experts believe that by mid-century, that number will more than triple. The disease is the sixth leading case of death in the U.S., and the only one among the top ten with no known cure, treatment or means of prevention. An emerging body of research suggests that providing people with Alzheimer’s opportunities to tell their life stories can help them negotiate their personal identities and may have positive impacts on their sense of self. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach is used to understand the lived experience of people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease in telling their life stories. The study included interviews with eight individuals who participated in a life story-telling program. Three key themes emerged to describe participants’ experience, including sense of self, relationship with family, and sense of purpose and meaning. The study supports the value of narrative approaches in contributing to positive self-image for people with AD. Implications for social work research and practice are discussed.

Included in

Social Work Commons