catapult magazine logo

Janet Adkins, a fifty-four-year-old English teacher, decided to make herself gone before the disease got the chance. Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, she was Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s first client.

A minister friend asked me recently about my grandfather. I told her about his move to the nursing home. Her reflexive response: “Oh, so he’s gone.” Gone.

In the 1980s and 90s, the British social psychologist Tom Kitwood developed a new model for providing care to persons with dementia. Kitwood challenged the old culture of care that viewed dementia patients as problems to be managed, as bodies in need of physical care and little else.

Kitwood understood malignant social psychology as “in the air”—part of our cultural inheritance, not a phenomenon to be blamed on individual caregivers. Malignant responses to dementia, in his analysis, revealed tragic inadequacies in our culture, economy, and medical system, which often define a person’s worth in terms of financial, physical, and intellectual power.

Read more on Catapult.

This is an external article from our library

Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection.

Have a great story about care work? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles



When Carolita Johnson became a live-in caretaker for her 87-year-old mother, reimagining this new life as a multi-year writing residency helped her...

Popular categories

After Caregiving
Finding Meaning
Finding Support

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts


Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.