Ageing, dementia and the future - ambivalent futurework in rehabilitation-focused dementia care

Jette Thuesen, Lea Graff

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


Due to its goal-orientation, rehabilitation may be considered a future-oriented practice. As rehabilitation is increasingly recognized as contributing to dementia care it is important to explore how rehabilitation corresponds with the future orientation of older people with dementia.The aim of this study was to explore the futurework of home-dwelling people with mild to moderate dementia in the context of rehabilitation-focused municipal dementia care, that is, their thinking and practices regarding their future and how these correspond with institutionalized practices.The study was conducted as a case-study inspired by the methodology of Institutional Ethnography (IE). The study setting was two Danish municipalities sampled as a paradigmatic case. Eight older people living with early-stage dementia (mean age: 78 years, age range: 65-91) were strategically sampled and each interviewed recurringly within a period of six through 15 months. In total, 29 interviews were completed. An abductive analysis was subsequently conducted based on these interviews.Findings included three dimensions of futurework: Extending the present state into the near future; avoiding being confronted with an anticipated future; and adjusting to decline and preparing for future losses. Based on these findings, a notion of 'ambivalent futurework' is suggested. The futurework of older people did not always correspond with the institutional arrangements in a rehabilitation-focused dementia care. Findings show that the institutional arrangements in dementia care may support as well as challenge the futurework of the participants. Paying attention to the ambivalences of older people living with dementia and recognizing the ambivalent futurework may be essential in rehabilitation-focused dementia care.
StatusE-pub ahead of print - aug. 2022


  • rehabilitering