Title

Living on the threshold: The spatial experience of living alone with dementia

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Title

Dementia

Volume

8

Issue

2

First Page

263

Last Page

291

DOI

10.1177/1471301209103273

Keywords

Dementia, Heidegger, Interpretive phenomenology, Living alone, Spatial experience

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the meaning of living alone for older people with dementia. Fourteen audio-taped open-ended interviews were conducted with eight such older women in Ontario, Canada. The data were analyzed using an adaptation of van Manen's method. Heidegger's philosophy informed interpretation of the findings through the theme living on the threshold. The study findings deepen understanding of 'space' and 'place' in the experience of living alone with dementia. Participants sought the middle-ground of dialectical tensions within the threshold space and shared insights about their spatial experience of: (a) being here, (b) being there, (c) being out, and (d) keeping out. These older women risked losing their threshold space when admitting to mistakes as their illness progressed. The authors conclude with examples of how this spatial interpretation may inform and improve communication with and care of older people in similar circumstances. © The Author(s), 2009.