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Living the everyday of dementia friendliness: navigating care in public spaces

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Katie Brittain, Professor Cathrine Degnen



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Dementia friendly communities are a priority for international policymaking aimed at tackling the social exclusion of people living with dementia. However, what constitutes a dementia friendly community is not well defined nor understood. In this paper we explore what constitutes the enactment of care in a dementia friendly community, focusing on commercial, leisure public places. Through qualitative interviews with carers in the North East of England, we examine how elements of social and material environments shape meaningful everyday practices of care outside the home. Drawing from the literature on materialities of care, we examine three everyday activities: eating out, going to the cinema and shopping. Maintaining such activities in public is part of keeping on with normal family life, but they can also expose individuals to stigmatising judgements by outsiders. Despite this, a complex array of material things, people, places and immaterial qualities such as ambience can come together to make care possible. We suggest there is a need to promote a less rigid, more flexible ethos in these public places. Through a recognition of the relational materialities of care, public spaces could do more to become places where people living with dementia can continue to feel connected and included.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brittain K, Degnen C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociology of Health & Illness

Year: 2022

Volume: 44

Issue: 2

Pages: 416-431

Online publication date: 06/02/2022

Acceptance date: 23/12/2021

Date deposited: 23/12/2021

ISSN (print): 0141-9889

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9566

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.13442

ePrints DOI: 0


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