Care, Dementia, and the Fourth Age in Erica Jong’s Later Work
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Background and Objectives: This article addresses the representations of dementia and caregiving in the fourth age as depicted in Erica Jong’s later-life work. It shows how the experience of parental care leads to the discovery of new ways of human interaction and expressions of personhood. Research Design and Methods: Framed within literary–cultural age studies, this article shows how humanities-based inquiry can illuminate important aspects of aging and care of the oldest old, which are significant and revealing, but often hidden under the dark shadow of dementia. Results: Newly discovered ways of communication challenge the notion of the loss of agency as they demonstrate that the body itself has the power of creative and intentional capacities and self-expression. Discussion and Implications: Care-related narratives offer new insights into aging, dementia, and subjectivity that can help pursue a better analysis of the “deep” old age, strengthen collective solidarity, and manage increasing ageism, especially pronounced during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Is part ofThe Gerontologist, 2021, vol. 62, núm. 3, 436-444
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