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When may calls home: The opening moments of family telephone conversations with an Alzheimer's patient

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Publication details

JournalFeminism and Psychology
DatePublished - May 2007
Issue number2
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)184-202
Original languageEnglish


Using conversation analysis, this article analyses the opening moments of naturally occurring telephone conversations between a woman with Alzheimer's disease and her daughter and son-in-law. Drawing on the large body of work on ordinary conversational openings between adults without cognitive impairments, we show that this Alzheimer's patient is a virtually fully competent interactant in the routinized aspects of call-openings (summons-answer, recognitions, greetings, 'howaryou', and the pre-emption of 'howaryou's to do urgency). We show, however, that in the very act of displaying these cognitive and social competencies in conversation with her daughter, she also reveals serious memory loss, which has devastating consequences for the mother-daughter relationship. In developing this research, we hope to enable families better to cope with the consequences of Alzheimer's disease.

    Research areas

  • call-openings, conversation analysis, communication, communication deficits, dementia, memory, mother-daughter relationship, DEMENTIA, REPAIR

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