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Author(s)

Björn Freter

Affiliation(s)

ABSTRACT

Man suffers from a very particular fate, namely that of being besieged by questions which he cannot answer and cannot ignore either. The ability to pose questions like these is a key characteristic of the fundamental existential situation of mankind. Every person must find his or her own particular method of coping with such questions. This makes up a significant part of the human maturing process. People with dementia, having already found their personal solution to cope with the problem of these unanswerable questions, radically stumble into this existential situation once again. The problem of this repetition is that the people with dementia can only make limited use, if indeed any use at all, of their previously successful biographical strategies. The drama of human existence as such thus repeats itself within a person with dementia. We must recognise the seriousness of this task. We thus must support people with dementia in coping existentially with this renewed task in the best possible way. The existential dignity of this task is no different from that of a young person. This insight is very important for the care of patients: people with dementia should be recognised as a people in an existential situation.

KEYWORDS

Dementia, facticity, existentiality, drama, trauma, contingency, decontingentisation, Immanuel Kant

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