Title page for ETD etd-12152008-123827

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van Zyl, Zandre
URN etd-12152008-123827
Document Title Narratives of a spouse regarding his experiences with Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type (DAT)
Degree MCommunication Pathology
Department Communication Pathology
Advisor Name Title
Dr E Naude Co-Supervisor
Mrs A Stipinovich Supervisor
  • narrative
  • QOL
  • quality of life
  • ADL
  • communication
  • activities of daily living
  • holistic form analysis
  • professional support
  • holistic content analysis
  • family
  • spouse
  • SLT
  • speech-language therapist
  • Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type
  • DAT
Date 2008-09-05
Availability restricted

The aim of this research study was to determine the perceptions and experiences of the spouse of an individual with Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type (DAT) regarding the impact of DAT on communication interaction. A qualitative research design was implemented as this allowed the researcher to collect, organise and interpret textual information gained from conversation and observation and to comprehend specific issues within their natural contexts. Four informal interviews were conducted with the spouse of an individual with DAT. These interviews were then transcribed and subjected to both a holistic form analysis and a holistic content analysis. The participant’s narrative was found to be regressive in nature. The themes that emerged from the holistic content analysis were those of: Change, Verbal Communication, Paranoia, Love and Loyalty, Coping Strategies and Professional Support Provided. The information pertaining to Change that the participant highlighted with regard to his spouse’s communication and personality correlates with the literature on DAT. Information extracted from the content analysis considered to be of clinical value to SLTs is that of the strategies that the spouse developed in order to deal with these changes and to facilitate communication. Throughout the narrative it became clear that the participant felt that professional support to the individual with DAT and his/her family is of utmost importance. The participation of all team members, including family, in the treatment of an individual with DAT can lead to each team member benefiting from the other members’ knowledge and experiences. It is conclusive that professionals can benefit by including the spouse of an individual with DAT, as they can provide useful and valuable background information and possible coping strategies that can benefit the treatment programme that is compiled for the individual with DAT. Thus the use of interviews in assessment of an individual with DAT can be implemented in order to ensure that we as professionals provide the best possible services to improve and maintain the quality of living for an individual with DAT and his/her spouse and/or family. The results of this study further portrayed the importance that a narrative analysis can have in the ongoing research of DAT.

©University of Pretoria 2007

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