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Shifting Paradigms: De-Pathologizing Alzheimer's Disease in Canada and Israel through Education, Arts and Creativity

Shifting Paradigms: De-Pathologizing Alzheimer's Disease in Canada and Israel through Education, Arts and Creativity
1 Devonshire Place, Room 208N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Time: Oct 19th, 10:00 am End: Oct 19th, 12:00 pm
Interest Categories: Visual Studies (UTM), Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (FAS), Medicine, Faculty of , Linguistics (FAS), Jewish Studies, Comparative Literature (FAS), Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC), Art (FAS), 2000-
Talk by Liza Futerman, University of Toronto

The Comparative Program on Health and Society presents

Shifting Paradigms: De-Pathologizing Alzheimer's Disease in Canada and Israel through Education, Arts and Creativity

Dementia is a cultural phenomenon that affects society as much as it does the individuals who bear the paralyzing label. As a researcher and a carer to my mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer at the age of 58, my research highlights the ways in which symbolic language comes to define dire realities both for individuals who are labeled as patients of neurodegenerative diseases and for their families who are expected to accept the ‘sentence of social death.' The aim of my cross-disciplinary research and advocacy efforts is to offer an alternative language to talk about dementia by educating the public about arts-based and improvisational skills in order to improve quality of life, prevent isolation and create a sense of community and self-worth for individuals living with the diagnosis and their families.

My research reflects on the discourse employed both in English speaking countries, where a national dementia strategy is practiced or in the process of becoming; and in Israel, where a national strategy has not yet been normalized and/or institutionalized. The goal of my research is to critically examine the popular discourse that is used to talk about AD and the impact of this language on Alzheimer's and dementia-related policies that in turn, affect negatively the everyday lives of persons diagnosed with AD and their families and care-partners. Through my research I wish to change the language that we use to talk about AD and dementia, as illnesses or disease, and start evaluating the condition as a cultural phenomenon that reveals the constructedness of seemingly naturalized concepts such as memory, identity, pathology and tragedy.

Liza Futerman is a Vanier doctoral scholar at the Centre for Comparative Literature and the the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, where she researches the popular discourse around Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the ways it affects policymakers, individuals who are diagnosed as ‘AD patients' and families. Futerman holds an MA in History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of Oxford, UK, and a BA and MA in Foreign Literatures and Linguistics from Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Futerman is a writer and an avid advocate for arts-based dementia care. She is the CEO & Founder of www.ArtsForDementia.com

This event is free and open to all. For further information, please contact Olga Kesarchuk at 416-946-8497.


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