Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Dr. Candace Kemp

Second Advisor

Dr. Jaye Atkinson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ann Pearman

Abstract

An estimated 5.4 million individuals in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease, and the number is expected to rise exponentially over the next 50 years. Content analysis was used to examine the availability and content of online resources accessible through the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) that addressed emotional and physical intimacy for a marital unit. The analysis resulted in ten documents from the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, seven from the NIA’s website, and four additional documents produced from external links that met these criteria. Five major themes emerged from these documents regarding the subject of emotional and physical intimacy. These categories included: (a) defining sexuality and intimacy, (b) changes that occur in the relationship due to a dementia diagnosis, (c) reasons for the change in the relationship, (d) responses to a dementia diagnosis, and (e) strategies for managing the changes due to a dementia diagnosis.

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