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Former Work Life and People With Dementia

Nordtug, Bente, PhD, MA, RN; Torvik, Karin, PhD, MA, RN; Brataas, Hildfrid, V., PhD, MA, RN; Holen, Are, PhD, MD (psychiatrist); Knizek, Birthe, Loa, PhD, MA

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000191
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Twelve persons with dementia were interviewed about their former work lives. Their motivation for choosing their past work was influenced by values of their contemporary culture. Those who had come to terms with their illness had positive feelings about their past contributions in their former paid work. However, they often felt that unpaid work was taken for granted and not fully recognized by family or society. Some wrestled with accepting their illness; they were grieving their losses, regardless of former success. Caregivers may use parts of work narratives to elevate the self-esteem and quality of life of persons with dementia.

Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nord University, Norway (Drs Nordtug, Torvik, and Braatas); Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU—Norwegian University of Sciences and Technology (Drs Torvik, Holen, and Knizek); Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Department of Mental Health, NTNU—Norwegain University of Science and Technology (Dr Holen).

Correspondence: Bente Nordtug, PhD, MA, RN, Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nord University, Høgskolevegen 27, 7600 Levanger, Norway (

This research was funded by The Research Council of Norway and Nord University.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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