The Experiences of the Central Texas Elderly and Animal-Assisted Interventions in Assisted-Living Facilities via Medicalization
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Medicalization is defined as a "process in which personal and social problems and behaviors have come to be viewed as diseases or medical problems that the medical and allied health professionals have a mandate to 'trea'" (Kaufman 1994, 45-46). Medicalization is enacted on many diverse populations within the United States, but not much has been written in regards to elderly persons living in assisted-living facilities. This thesis considers this topic. Drawing primarily on interviews with elderly residents of four assisted-living facilities in central Texas, it considers how these individuals experience the medicalization associated with aging. It further considers how, though Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI), the residents are offered a means to resist the process of control inherent to medicalization and regain a sense of self.