Dementia Discourse: From Imposed Suffering to Knowing Other-Wise


  • Gail Joyce Mitchell York University
  • Sherry L Dupuis University of Waterloo
  • Pia Kontos Research Scientist Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto



Dementia Discourse, Suffering, Embodied Selfhood, Knowing Other-Wise, Hermeneutics,


The authors revisit the troubling discourse surrounding the diagnosis of dementia. A critique of the predominant words and images in health care literature, public discourse, and policy is considered from multiple angles. The authors link the dominant words and images with a form of inter-relational violence. Contrary images grounded in research and experience offer a different view of what it is like to live with a diagnosis of dementia—a view that is life-affirming and based in relationality and possibility. Concepts of embodied selfhood and knowing other-wise are portrayed as doorways to transforming a discourse of violence toward a discourse of compassion and ethical relating.

Author Biographies

Gail Joyce Mitchell, York University

Professor, School of Nursing

Sherry L Dupuis, University of Waterloo



Director of the Murray Alzheimer Research & Education Program

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Pia Kontos, Research Scientist Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto

Associate Professor

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - University Health Network


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