Members of the NAR-Kolleg


Baer Marion


Dr. Marion Bär
(correspondend member)

Linkpfeil Kompetenzzentrum Alter




Accesses to human existence under the condition of Alzheimer’s disease

"There is a life after the diagnosis!" This conclusion an alzheimer’s sufferer recently stated in a newspaper interview. After a long time, where psychological research in Alzheimer’s disease mainly focussed on psychometric analysis regarding pathological changes along the course of the disease, there is a new interest in life from the perspective of the disease sufferers. How do they experience the disease? What changes, and what remains, while the disease progresses in her course? A growing number of phenomenological studies about the lifeworld of persons with dementia, predominantly undertaken in the anglo-american and scandinavian area, has quarried important findings: Alzheimer’s sufferers are struggling actively with the disease, in manifold manners trying to partake in life in face of their receding scopes of action. And they succeed in many cases, even in severe disease stages.

However, few is known about human existence in the terminal stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Is personal identity then fading? Is there any subjective experience left, and if it is, how can it be conceived? 
This lack of knowledge not only stems from the difficulty to investigate the subjective experience of persons with severe dementia. Another reason is that Alzheimer’s disease and associated changes up to now rarely have been discussed within a philosophical and anthropological context.

The project “accesses to human existence under the condition of Alzheimer’s disease” therefore wants to strike a new pathway. It focuses on a theoretical examination about the alterating structure of the human being-in-the-world in the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the framework of the lived body as an essential condition of human existence several concepts from the philosophical anthropology shall be analysed with regard to their potential to improve the rapprochement to human existence in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.

The project’s aim is to develop of a heuristic context that may integrate perspectives of natural science as well as of the humanities, and that may provide a basis for future studies regarding the lifeworld of persons with dementia.

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Selected Publications

  • Bär, Marion (2010). Sinn im Angesicht der Alzheimerdemenz – Ein phänomenologisch-existenzieller Zugang zum Verständnis demenzieller Erkrankung [Meaning in the face of Alzheimer’s – a phenomonogical-existential approach]. In A. Kruse (Hrsg.), Lebensqualität bei Demenz (S. 249-260). Heidelberg: AKA.
  • Bär, M. (2010). Sinn erleben im Angesicht der Alzheimerdemenz: ein anthropologischer Bezugsrahmen [Meaning in the face of Alzheimer’s: anthropological framework]. Marburg: Tectum.
  • Bär, M., Fenchel, V., & Marx, L. (2010). Demenzkranke Menschen im Pflegeheim besser begleiten – Arbeitshilfe für die Entwicklung und Umsetzung von Pflege- und Betreuungskonzepten [Improving nursing home care for individuals with dementia – a practical guide for developing and implementing care concepts](3. Ed.). Hannover: Schlüter
  • Böggemann, M., Kaspar, R., Bär, M., Berendonk, C., Kruse, A., & Re, S. (2008). Positive Erlebnisräume für Menschen mit Demenz: Ein Ansatz zur Förderung von Lebensqualität im Rahmen individuenzentrierter Pflege  [Offering positive experiences for individuals with dementia: An approach for improving the quality of life in person-centred care]. In D. Schaeffer, J. Behrens, & S. Görres (Hrsg.). Optimierung und Evidenzbasierung pflegerischen Handelns (S. 80-104). Weinheim: Juventa.
  • Bär, M., Böggemann, M., Kaspar, R., Re, S., Berendonk, C., Seidl, U., et al. (2006). Demenzkranke Menschen in individuell bedeutsamen Alltagssituationen – Erste Ergebnisse eines Projekts zur Förderung der Lebensqualität durch Schaffung positiver Anregungsmöglichkeiten [Dementia sufferers in individual everyday situations. Initial results of an intervention study for improving the quality of life by creating opportunities for positive stimuli]. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie & Geriatrie, 39(3), 173-182.
  • Bär, M., Böggemann, M., & Kruse, A. (2005). Demenzkranke Menschen in individuell bedeutsamen Alltagssituationen - Entwicklung einer Methode zur Förderung der Lebensqualität durch Stimulierung positiver Emotionen [Dementia sufferers in individual everyday situations. Enhancing quality of life by stimulating positive emotions]. Pflege & Gesellschaft, 1, 60-61.

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1992 - 1993 Nursing assistant at the Johanneshaus Öschelbronn (nursing home)
1993 - 1997 Diploma (B.A. equivalent) in Music Therapy, University of Applied Sciences Heidelberg
1997 - 2000 Diploma (M.A. equivalent) in Gerontology, Heidelberg University
2000 - 2001 Research assistant at the Institute of Gerontology, Heidelberg University
2001 - 2008 Member of research staff at the Institute of Gerontology, Heidelberg University
8/2008 - 2/2009 PhD - Scholarship from Heidelberg University
3/2009 - 2011 Member of the NAR Kolleg, Heidelberg University









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Latest Revision: 2017-12-08