How can you mourn someone who is still alive? What does farewell feel like, if it unfolds at a leisurely pace?
In 2017, my father was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease at the age of 54. Barely under 2% of the 1.8 million people in Germany who have a form of dementia are under the age of 65. Each person with a form of dementia experiences the illness differently, but a common symptom is the tendency to fumble with objects. In their struggle, touch and texture become sources of comfort and security amidst uncertainty.
"cursare", named after the Latin word for walking back and forth, offers not only an intimate portrait but also a close look at the different stages of dementia that change family dynamics and the transition into a specialized nursing home. This photo project explores dementia through the microcosmos my father found himself in, where there was nothing besides the flat of my parents and those objects, becoming not only a symbol for his search for security and his new vulnerability, but also his past as an arthistorian.
"Next care is female," writes the social association VdK in a study from September 2022. The study reveals that women are the primary caregivers across all age groups, except for the 76-plus group, who take care of those in need of assistance. This includes caring for parents or one's own partner. Shockingly, in 40 percent of all care households, relatives provide care without external assistance. Most of the primary caregivers fall in the age group of 56 to 65, still within their working years. However, those who put their careers on hold to care for their families often face lower income and reduced pension entitlements. Financial concerns become a daily companion for one-third of caregivers, significantly increasing their risk of poverty, according to the VdK social association's study. If a caregiver can no longer provide care, the immense costs of institutional care can further exacerbate the situation. In such cases, the social welfare office may often call on the caregiver's home to cover the costs of care.
The number of dementia patients in Europe is expected to increase significantly by 2050. This assessment comes from the umbrella organization of national Alzheimer societies, which predicts that by 2050, twice as many people in Europe will have dementia compared to 2018. This growing trend underscores the need for better support systems for both dementia patients and their caregivers.