An Autoethnography on the Impact of Chronic Illness on Couples' Sexuality: A Caregiver's Perspective
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The purpose of this thesis is to explore the effect of chronic illness on couples, especially where the caregiver of the chronically ill is a spousal family member. There is also some exploration into the effect of chronic illness on the sexual aspect of the relationship. This purpose is carried out using autoethnography. In writing and researching this topic, I was stunned to discover that there were limited research/materials exploring the family caregiver’s (be it a spouse, parents, relatives or children) role. For example, their role in taking care of their chronically ill loved one, in exploring the physical, psychological and mental stress factors associated with this role and negotiating and achieving life’s satisfaction as a caregiver and a chronically ill individual. I have had to rely on my personal experiences and limited amount of resources available on this topic. As a wife, mother and caregiver, I will use autoenthographic research to write both my story and my husband´s story. It is my hope that by relating our experiences, our transitions and our continuing journey, I will throw light on, and bring attention to, an area that I believe is under researched. This thesis also offers some suggestions to health care professionals on how to support both the caregiver and recipient as they strive to attain satisfaction in their relationship as they navigate through chronic illness.