The homeostasis model and dementia: a new perspective on care-giving
In this chapter I describe what can happen to an elderly person who becomes permanently infirm. Insight into their behaviour will be provided by specific examples. A key issue in managing the situation of the chronically ill elderly person is their 'Understanding of the Situation' (US). This means the idea and assessment of what is going on by the elderly person himself or herself. This US is usually conceived of negatively, based on feelings of loss of control. Behaviour thereafter will largely be determined by this US. Often, the behaviour can be characterized as acts of despair. People becoming demented realize that they are ill and are losing touch with the outside world. It may be assumed that the experiences and feelings of the non-demented elderly also apply to those who are becoming demented. These experiences will be described in this chapter, and on the basis of these, fundamental assumptions for care can be deduced. These will be introduced and illustrated with practical examples at the end of this chapter.