Attending to difference: Enacting individuals in food provision for residents with dementia

Annelieke Driessen, Rebeca Ibanez Martin

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


In the face of warnings about total institutions and growing concern about the quality of care, healthcare professionals in Western Europe and North America have increasingly been exhorted to tailor their services to individuals in their care. In this article, we invite our readers to become more interested in the kinds of differences care is being tailored to, and with what effects. Focusing on food provision for residents with dementia, we present three repertoires through which care workers attend to, and enact different sets of differences between individuals: providing choice allows residents to express fleeting preferences; knowing residents places emphasis on care providers’ familiarity with a person; and catering to identities brings to the fore the tastes which make up part of who someone is. The analysis brings attending to difference to the fore as a practical process and suggests that tailoring care requires sensitivity to the different kinds of individuals enacted when attending to difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Early online date08 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 08 Nov 2019


  • dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • food
  • nursing home care
  • patient centredness
  • ethnography
  • identity


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