‘They’re just who they’ve always been’: the intersections of dementia, community and selfhood in Scottish care homes

Steve Mullay*, Pat Schofield, Amanda Clarke, William Primrose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Issues stemming from differences and similarities in cultural identities affect residents and workforces in care homes in Scotland, as they do across the United Kingdom. Theoretical guidance and policy drivers emphasise the importance of considering cultural diversity when planning or enacting person-centred care processes, regardless of where health or social care takes place. Nevertheless, there is a recognised worldwide dearth of research concerning the intersections of culture, dementia and long-term care. This being so, a recent research study found that inadequate understandings of issues stemming from cultural diversity could be seen to constrain person-centred care in some Scottish care homes. In addition, the study uncovered little-recognised socio-cultural phenomena which were observed to positively enhance person-centre care. This article will focus on that, and will lay out findings from the study which lead to the following broad assertion: there is a broad lack of understanding of the power, and potential utility, of shared identity and community as a bulwark against the erosion of personhood which is often associated with dementia. This article describes these findings in some detail, thereby providing fresh insights into how shared cultural identity, and the sense of community it may bring, bears upon the interactions between workers and residents with dementia in Scottish care homes. It then suggests how the school of ‘person-centred care’ may be developed through further research into these phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1082
Number of pages20
JournalAgeing & Society
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • dementia
  • person-centred care
  • identity
  • culture
  • community
  • Scotland


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