A psychoanalytic and philosophical exploration of boredom and disengagement in dementia
This chapter explores through observation, clinical experience and literature review some of the less documented aspects of dementia. Focussing particularly on the inexorable fading of the independent functioning adult, the re-appearance of dependence and the increasing use of an object, we pose the question whether the boredom complained of in dementia means the same as when we describe it in health. Boredom can be a metaphysical state (not an emotion exactly but an existential sense), a projective identification or a mood; for example, an expressed emotion in response to a physical situation, particularly one that has gone on long enough. Boredom is also an emotional and/or psychological state where the individual is aware of being uninterested in their surroundings and feeling left without anything to do and unmotivated to act. It is often experienced as exhaustion. Disengagement from life and from others and can be considered to be unpleasant, undesirable and even reprehensible. In dementia its presence is common and yet even harder to elucidate. It is not even clear whether it is always a bad thing. Different types of boredom in dementia and their potential meanings are offered as a method of beginning a discourse on this subject.