Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Elevate Eldercare

Feb 2, 2022

Amid the gradual aging of the American population, there’s never been more awareness about Alzheimer’s and other dementias – but the stigmas and misconceptions have also persisted alongside this public knowledge, even among well-meaning people.

At the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Memory Center, Dr. Jason Karlawish and his colleagues take a holistic approach to caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; as a medical ethicist and author, he also probes the ways that society devalues caregiving as a vital role, while also treating elders with cognitive decline as “others.”

Karlawish joins Susan Ryan for a provocative discussion about Alzheimer’s and dementia not just as diseases, but as social constructs: Why was losing one’s sense of agency and self-reliance considered a natural part of aging, and not a disease, until relatively recently in human history? Why do we view family caregivers as housekeepers or visitors instead of crucial supports who can help people with dementia live more fulfilling lives – the way wheelchairs and other mobility aids allow those with physical disabilities to navigate the world more freely?

The answers to those questions will only become more vital as policymakers continue to debate eldercare reforms – and as new generations of both familial and professional caregivers look to improve the lives of America’s elders. 


Learn about the Penn Memory Center and its philosophy on care:

Read about Karlawish’s recent book, “The Problem of Alzheimer’s”:

Show notes/call to action: Learn more about The Green House Project: