Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Candace Kemp

Second Advisor

Jennifer Craft Morgan

Third Advisor

Fayron Epps


An overlooked and little-understood potential site for meaningful engagement among assisted living residents with dementia is the salon. This thesis addresses this knowledge gap by 1) examining salon experiences in relation to resident appearance, self-identity, and engagement opportunities; 2) identifying processes and factors related to salon experiences; and 3) viewing salon experiences and their meaning through the lens of embodied selfhood. Qualitative interview and fieldnote data from the study, “Meaningful Engagement and Quality of Life in Persons Living with Dementia in Assisted Living” were analyzed, guided by grounded theory method and informed by the sensitizing concepts of embodiment, self-narrative, and social identity. Several processes were identified comprising the salon experience that, collectively, provided engagement in a form of embodied selfhood meaningful to residents with dementia, and as such, helped residents maintain their personhood and sense of self. Findings point to the importance of care partner facilitation of resident salon experiences.


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