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[Xmca-l] Re: Memory, aging and culture

Hello, everyone!
This thread is way too exciting to just sit on the sidelines.  I am invested
in this because I did time with my aging grandmother, and abused her in my
ignorance of how to deal with the frustration of "dementia" without a social
network to support.  Only my father "laying down the law" so to speak, got
"the family" to put my grandmother in a retirement home.  Which was
horrible.  All she had was one picture of the dog in a frame. Three dresses.
Hospital gown. (Sigh.)

Shift to Japan and teaching a GST discussion seminar.  I'm toying with a
phrase, "Where Humanity meets Science and Technology".  Also, I have a
unique opportunity to give two lectures to Engineering students about CSR
(Corporate Social Responsibility) which leads almost directly to Ethics.
And not the ethics of THE BOTTOM LINE.  There has been work done with this,
such as 3BL (3 Bottom Lines) Financial Capital, Social Capital, and Natural

For example, UK and "austerity programs".  My friend had to intervene to get
a parent out of a home because they would not re-evaluate certain tests,
reports of deliberately starving and putting water out of reach.  He is a
priest and a very conservative person and is not making this up.  He has
real friends who experience the impact of these policies for themselves and
their parents. I am in Japan. I had to make a choice between an "insurance
backed" rehabilitation hospital and rehabilitation with my "dysfunctional"
family.  Family wins hands down, because I know, I have been here for 33
years and had two babies, I know what the nursing staff and rehabilitation
staff will do and what they won't. 

Not wanting to toss myself in a self-devised oubliette, I want to talk about
this for real.  I am nearly 60, my mother is still alive, and this is all
very real to me in lived-life personal ways. I know something of the
experiences of students whom I teach, who are entering adulthood with the
voices and classes of a team of teacher and staff who are tasked with
helping them enter adulthood, and take on the full responsibility of a
member of society.  20 seems really young!

I have a feeling that my dashed out note may not survive coherence tests,
but the key is quality of life, and richness is cultural, and human richness
abides in a loved familiar environment.  This connects to the old and the
very young.  Some studies have linked SIDS to being a very lonely baby. Of
course I "cherry-pick" my stuff according to my bias.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of peter jones
Sent: Monday, December 09, 2013 5:47 PM
To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Memory, aging and culture

Hi Mike, All

I can't identify a literature but am sure there is one (culturally
orientated) out there such is the prospective scale of the challenges.
Emerging you would hope?

In Feb 2011 I gave a presentation and workshop in Paipa, Colombia. I used a
case study of an elderly lady living alone.
Very common here in the UK and yet the audience in Colombia could not really
identify with this scenario.
The family would assure the well-being of their family member, except in
extremis. In this sense the culture in Colombia could be said to be 'rich'
in comparison with the loneliness and alienation frequently experienced in
the UK.

Mental health services in the UK have lost 1700 beds in the past two years
(Health Service Journal) due to austerity measures. This might mean family
have a 30 mile or more trip to visit a relative in hospital.

There are studies that espouse a role for telecare to facilitate people
maintaining their independence with other sources of support.

You might refer to the health policy debate and eventual emergence of a
'dementia strategy' or other governmental response as measure of some sort?

In terms of the sciences and political (mechanistic) domains of Hodges'
model, governments (e.g. UK) needs to know how prevalent the problem is.
Therefore the emphasis is still upon diagnosis, or more accurately

I have advocated for more local use of geographic information systems - GIS
to consider such activities. For example, which family doctors are referring
people, which are not and if so why not?

There is a fascinating question(?) in what a culture considers 'challenging
behaviour'? With this is 'tolerance' of individuals, through to family and
communities. When medical language is introduced then 'sense making' is
radically altered (of course)?

The cultural impacts are yet to be fully realised and if there is a
connection with diabetes may be even greater than thought (without


The cultural expectations around driving could also be very interesting,
having the grace to give up the car when the time comes. This will (is) not
easy for a great many people.

Hope this helps.

Peter Jones
Lancashire, UK
Blogging at "Welcome to the QUAD"
Hodges Health Career - Care Domains - Model
h2cm: help 2C more - help 2 listen - help 2 care

On Monday, 9 December 2013, 0:47, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
The link between involvement in cultural practices as a function of
age/health and memory
seems to have opened up a lot of considerations of common interest. As
Geraldine suggests
word meaning is a central phenomenon associated with memory loss and Peter
himself as deeply involved in the issues that Laure's question provoked. And
look at the
geographic/temporal distribution of this concentrated "intelligence."

Peter, is there a literature on cultural differences in partterns of say,
dementia, or Alzheimers, when societies adopt our most civilized practices?
Clearly you are pointing toward a shift in the kinds of issues changing
demographics will pose socially and economically, which I think requires a
corresponding shift in cultural practices and their associated meanins.

Am I tracking this right? 
(Asked the old man, speaking of dimentia) 

On Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 3:53 PM, peter jones <h2cmng@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

Culturally one of the factors must be what is 'home'?
>Another extends beyond cultural perception to involve politics and policy.
With an ageing population we (health services - private as well as public)
need older adults to retain their independence and if needed to be cared for
at home and to die at home and not in hospital.
>The following may help in specifics around dementia.
>Culturally are we ready for more people to die at home?.
>I also blogged this w/e about residential care and deprivation of liberty:
>There are other posts on dementia & memory which may illuminate several
>Peter Jones
>Lancashire, UK
>Blogging at "Welcome to the QUAD"
>Hodges Health Career - Care Domains - Model
>h2cm: help 2C more - help 2 listen - help 2 care
>On Sunday, 8 December 2013, 21:49, Martin John Packer
<mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> wrote:
>I suspect that 'memory loss' with age also depends on cultural *practices*
of memory. I know couples where one person is largely responsible for
remembering things for both. In the US, the UK and elsewhere we tend to put
old people in institutions where no one knows their history, whereas in
cultures where old'uns continue to have a place in the family, their
relatives know what they need to recall and can do so for them, or help them
do so.
>On Dec 8, 2013, at 12:43 PM, Laure Kloetzer <laure.kloetzer@gmail.com>
>> Hi Mike,
>> I agree the question was quick and fuzzy,
> sorry. I wonder to what extent
>> the extended complaint on memory loss (especially loss of episodic
>> memories, related to specific events of one's life) by people who are
>> getting old in our current societies is related to cultural factors
>> (including social expectations towards a precise memory, esp. relating to
>> one's own life events, and anxiety to get old, including fear of
>> pathology, for example). We know that the way we sleep, our sleeping
>> cycles, are influenced by our culture. I guess our perception of our
>> performance and accuracy is also influenced by cultural factors, and I
>> wonder if some colleagues have been working on these topics. Which
>> dimensions worsen or improve the situation regarding memory problems and
>> aging ?
>> Thanks for your help !
>> Best regards,
>> LK
>> 2013/12/8 mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
>>> What does the term, cultural perceptions mean, Laure? The answer to that
>>> question would help a lot in answering your questions.
>>> mikec
>>> On Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 12:44 AM, Laure Kloetzer
>>>> Hi,
>>>> I am looking for references on aging, and how memory loss is affected
>>>> cultural perceptions. Would you have some references to point me to ?
>>>> Best,
>>>> LK

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