Moral reasoning and Alzheimer's care: Exploring complex weavings through narrative

Maria C. Bartlett, Jane Gorman, Daniel J. Brauner, Marguerite E. Graham, Barbara C. Coats, Reggie Marder, Suzanne E. England, Baila Miller, Linda Gaibel, Bernadette O'Shea, Carol Ganzer, Suzanne Poirier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports on selected results of an inquiry-guided study in which we used literature and autobiography to challenge current rationalist perspectives on the use of formal services by caregivers of Alzheimer's sufferers. Starting with Gilligan 's concepts of two basic forms of moral reasoning-justice versus care-based-we interpreted the moral reasoning about caregiving expressed in four novels: Diary of a Good Neighbor, Memory Board, Memento Mori, and The Other Side. Although we found Gilligan's dichotomous framework not directly applicable, we did find ample evidence of the salience of moral reasoning to questions of who should care and on what basis. We also found that stories, as they are woven from threads of family history, social position and mores, as well as ideas about intimate love, religion, and autonomy, reveal the interconnectedness of so-called private choices to the social ideologies that constrain and shape these choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-421
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy


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