Spring 2010 | Return to Newsletter Home
Approaching Dementia: Creativity and Ethics in Caring – The Annual Rabinowitz Symposium
On April 23rd, Program on Values in Society faculty member Sara Goering along with Anthropolgy faculty member, Janelle Taylor and philosophy graduate student, Rachel Fredericks organized an interdisciplinary symposium on “Approaching Dementia: Creativity and Ethics in Caring.” The event brought together medical clinicians and academics from the University and the community and served as a forum for widespread conversations. This free public conference was made possible by a donation from the Rabinowitz family to support philosophical work in medical ethics.
The daylong symposium was filled to capacity and included main speakers: Philosophy Professor Agnieszka Jaworski, University of California, Riverside, who spoke on “Vanishing Persons and the Authority of the Former Self: Dilemmas in Alzheimer’s Disease;” Neurologist Dr. Peter Whitehouse, Case Western Reserve University, who presented “Caring for Our Demented Selves and Our Distressed Planet: Exploring the Values of Positive Aging and Misguided Neuroethics;” and Theatre Art Specialist Professor Anne Basting, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee who discussed “The Cultural Cure: Creative Engagement and Dementia.”
The participants of the symposium were pleased to be able to take time out from their day-to-day work of caring for patients with dementia and have a philosophical discussion exploring the needs of patients, families and caregivers. Here is a sample of participant feedback sent to the Department of Philosophy after the event:
"Thank you for inviting me to the symposium. The presentations and discussions were so interesting, and it was wonderful to meet everyone and to be able to talk further with you. It's so rare that I get to be around a group of people all interested in issues of dementia and caregiving – and from such a range of perspectives. It was really a great event, and I look forward to continuing the discussions begun there." -- a Ph.D. student from the University of Chicago, who is planning to do dissertation research about dementia care.
"I had a fantastic time. I kept thinking, why can't every day be like this?" – a geriatric psychiatrist.
"This symposium was really a highlight of my week, and I am sure for other participants, too. It was so informative, professional, yet had a very warm and cozy feel. I am particularly impressed how you champion the needs of caregivers. You have a real knack of being a driving-action-force-of-heartfelt-awareness but use an emotionally-precise-laid-back method to communicate to a group! It is quite a gift you have to communicate the needs of others. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us." – a caregiver.