Rethinking Metaphor in the Rhetoric of Alzheimer’s Disease

Evelyn Saru Jimmy, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation examines the metaphors that early onset Alzheimer’s blog authors use to make meaning of their experiences living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To complicate the study, I also compare whether early onset Alzheimer’s blog authors use the same metaphors with those who serve as caregiver to late-stage AD patients. This research project is situated within the overlap fields of Disability Studies (Dolmage, 2006; Lewiecki-Welson, 2003; Yergeau, 2014; Kerschbaum, 2014), Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (Segal, 1997: Price, 2011; Molloy, 2015) Rhetoric of Mental Health (Chrisman, 2008; Uttapha, 2017, Reynold, 2008), and Technical Communication (Meloncon, 2014). Following the principles of these fields, this project deconstructs the bio-medical model of Alzheimer’s disease and provides a critical metaphorical analysis of the metaphors that these two groups of blog authors use to construct and make meaning of their experiences with AD. The prevalent use of metaphors in the narratives of both early onset AD blog authors and caregiver blog authors, shows just how integral metaphor is in conceptualizing, conveying, and expressing meaning. The practice of medicine has advanced dramatically in recent years, but the language, especially the use of metaphors that were used to discuss and talk about illness by medical practitioners, caregivers, and the public as a whole has not kept pace. Paying attention to and analyzing these problematic metaphors could help provide healthcare professionals with a tool that can afford better empathy for people with dementia.

Subject Area

Rhetoric|Language|Neurosciences|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Saru Jimmy, Evelyn, "Rethinking Metaphor in the Rhetoric of Alzheimer’s Disease" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29206975.