In Death's Waiting Room: Living and Dying with Dementia in a Multicultural Society

Living and Dying with Dementia in a Multicultural Society

Anne-Mei The

Anne-Mei The

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

The story behind In Death’s Waiting Room is a penetrating human drama that concerns us all—as our “greatest generation” continues to age, more and more families are contending with the onset of dementia in their elderly parents and grandparents, a trend that will only continue as the global population of senior citizens continues to grow with certain speed. For this remarkable volume, Anne-Marie The carried out two years of hands-on ethnographic research in an Amsterdam nursing home for patients with various forms of dementia. In Death’s Waiting Room reveals what usually remains hidden in these modern-day centers of care: the decision to stop treatment, the poverty and voodoo rituals of the black Caribbean nursing staff looking after predominantly white patients, the difficulties faced—and caused—by relatives, and the tensions and aggressions between residents. This immensely readable and moving volume also shares the touching moments of humor and compassion, while at the same time forcing us to consider our own potential confrontation with dementia, in our own or our parents’ lives. From conversations with underpaid nurses to confrontations with family visitors who insist on prolonging treatment against all odds, this searing book is a truly necessary guide to some of the most wrenching aspects of old age.




How It All Started

Part I: Park House

Life in Park House

Mrs Van Dam Dies

The Family

Eating Problems

Staff Vicissitudes

Mrs Scharloo Doesn’t Want to Go On

Daily Care

Everday Life

Inadequate Care


Wanting to Die

Rough Treatment

Reorganisation and Black Magic

Leontien and Mrs Grasberg

Strong Women, Loafing Men

Limited Labour Market

The Big Problem
The Coup and the Death of Mrs Driessen

Part II: The Blauwbörgje Case

The Nursing Home Doctor’s Husband

The Ex-wife

The Nursing Home Doctor

The Colleague of the Nursing Home Doctor

The Daughter

The Managers

The Internist

The Head Nurse

The Journalist

Mr Bruggeling
The Doctors at De Merenberg

The Research

How It All Ended


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