Perception of dignity in older men and women in the early stages of dementia: a cross-sectional

Lucie Kráčmarová*, Jitka Tomanová, Kristýna Černíková, Peter Tavel, Kateřina Langová, Jane Greaves, Helena Kisvetrová

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract
Background: Dementia is a serious problem in old age, which impacts one’s ability to function and may threaten personal dignity. Given the specifics of the illness and life experiences, there may be different contributors to the perception of dignity in men and women with dementia. The purpose of the study was to explore what variables contribute to dignity and its domains in men and women with dementia.
Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 316 community-dwelling patients with early-stage dementia (aged ≥ 60) (PwD). We estimated sociodemographic and social involvement characteristics of the respondents, health-related variables (pain, depression, physical performance, sensory impairments), attitude to aging, and self-sufficiency in activities of daily living (ADL) as independent variables for the perception of dignity and of its domains in men and women.
Results: Multivariate regression analyses showed that male and female patients in the early stages of dementia experienced minor dignity problems. Higher rates of depression, negative attitudes to aging, and pain contributed to lower dignity in both men and women. Moreover, visual impairment had a negative effect on men's overall dignity, and on its domains of ‘Loss of Autonomy’ and ‘Loss of Confidence’. Lowered self-sufficiency in ADL contributed to diminished dignity and dignity domains of ‘Loss of Purpose of Life’, ‘Loss of Autonomy’, and ‘Loss of Confidence’ only for women. Sociodemographic and social involvement characteristics, hearing impairment, and physical performance were not associated with dignity in PwD.
Conclusion: The results suggested that several common factors (depression, attitudes to aging, and pain) contribute to the perception of dignity in men and women. Other factors are more pronounced only in men or in women, which might be related to their specific gender roles and experiences (visual impairments in men and self-sufficiency in ADL in women). Supporting PwD to maintain activities that fit their gender roles and therefore complete their identity, to the extent that their illness allows, can help promote their dignity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jul 2022

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