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Living with dementia: Why I am thinking of ‘death’

Zhang, Xiubin; Clarke, Charlotte; Ding, Rong

Living with dementia: Why I am thinking of ‘death’ Thumbnail


Xiubin Zhang

Rong Ding


Dementia is recognized globally as a massive burden on public health and wider society. It is a major cause of disability and mortality amongst older people. China has the largest population of people with dementia worldwide, accounting for approximately 25% of the entire global population of people with dementia. The study investigated the perceived experiences of care giving and care receiving in China, with one area identified in the data concerning the extent to which the participants discussed death. The research also explored the meaning of living with dementia in modern China, where the economy, demography and culture are rapidly changing. Method The qualitative approach of interpretative phenomenological analysis was used for this study. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. Finding The paper reports on one specific finding concerning death as a way out of the situation that participants found themselves in. Conclusion The study described and interpreted one of the specific issues, ‘death’, in the participants’ narratives. This finding reflects how psychological and social factors, such as stress, social support, healthcare cost, caring burden and medical practice have created the participants’ thoughts of ‘wishing to die’ and the reasons why they believe ‘death is a way to reduce burden’. It calls for an understanding, supportive social environment and a reconsideration of a culturally and economically appropriate family-based care system.


Zhang, X., Clarke, C., & Ding, R. (2023). Living with dementia: Why I am thinking of ‘death’. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 22(4), 807-819.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 31, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2023
Journal Dementia
Print ISSN 1471-3012
Electronic ISSN 1741-2684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 4
Pages 807-819


Published Journal Article (562 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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