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A World of Touch in a No-Touch Pandemic

Living with Dementia in a Care Facility during COVID-19

Cristina Douglas

Abstract

Touch is essential when living with dementia for communication and remaining connected with the world, and it is also unavoidable when performing body care. Thus, it is impossible to think of living and caring for people with dementia in the absence of touch. Drawing from my ethnographic fieldwork conducted with therapy animals and people living with dementia in Scottish care facilities, in this article I argue that the public health measures taken against the spread of COVID-19 infections need to be reimagined by taking into consideration the role of touch. Furthermore, I try to draw attention to the lessons that we should learn about touch and the role of intimate bodily entanglements in dementia care from the high COVID-19 death tolls amongst British care home residents.

Open access

Lisa Marie Borrelli, Cristina Douglas, and Michele Fontefrancesco

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