chapter  1
Entering a new landscape
Dementia in literature
ByRagna Aadlandsvik
Pages 16

The word dementia comes from Latin de mentis, meaning: out of mind. This condition causes a lot of suffering in a rapidly growing and longer living population. Individuals, families, communities and society as a whole are affected. Literature dealing with dementia issues illuminates a person's inner world and outer behaviour in a way that may be useful for family, staff and other care givers, and not the least for society as a whole. Literature dealing with questions of health can not only be used for enlightening the public, but also in the education of medical professionals. Stories sit in the backbone of man, and they are found in all cultures through all ages. Narrativity seems to be a basic human capacity. The turn to narrative in the recent years represents a dramatic shift in the history of educational research. If dementia is an ultimate human condition, poetry is the ultimate literary genre.