Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program


Ashton Wesner

Second Advisor

Jay Sibara


In our society, an individual’s worth is tied to the state of their cognitive function which affects the discourse about neurodegenerative illnesses, causing it to mostly fall under two branches: “The Dread” and “Science as the Holy Grail”. “The Dread” addresses how Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and other dementias are typically perceived as devastating illnesses to be feared. “Science as the Holy Grail” represents the hope and faith that is invested into potential technoscientific developments without the guarantee of any consequential results. Limiting the narrative to these two categories negatively impacts the quality of life (QOL) of AD patients, caregivers, and families. Disciplines such as music, art, and literature, are not traditionally consulted as ways of helping AD patients and caregivers. The majority of resources available for AD and dementia are designated to support scientific studies and research projects that anticipate the development of solutions in the future. Putting monetary and labor resources into science has been disappointing so far. It is unlikely that the humanities will find the cure for dementia but investing time and energy into alternative approaches could yield some real time solutions directed towards improving QOL for AD and dementia patients and caregivers. Through analysis of a graphic novel and an artist’s self portraits, I honed in on some of the ways that people affected by AD and dementia could really benefit from what the humanities has to offer and to showcase what different humanities-based therapies have already been able to achieve for dementia patients.


Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, quality of life, humanities, dementia care