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Res Gerontol Nurs. 2012 Jul;5(3):207-15. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20120605-03. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Caregivers' deepest feelings in living with Alzheimer's disease: a Ricoeurian interpretation of family caregivers' journals.

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The University of Iowa, College of Nursing, Iowa City, IA, USA.


Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease (AD) challenges family caregivers with existential questions about what is the right thing to do for themselves and their care recipient. This study extracted themes spontaneously occurring in self-disclosure through expressive writing and sheds phenomenological insight into the deepest feelings revealed by caregivers of loved ones with AD. The personal journals of 24 caregivers were analyzed in the framework of Ricoeur's philosophy of ethics based on the concept of personal identity. Caregivers reflected on themes in friendship, self-esteem, authenticity, and capacity to act with the ethical intention to stay present while the care recipient is disappearing. Engaging the text within Ricoeur's ethically sensitive philosophy and methodology illuminated the benefit of writing interventions that allow caregivers to speak about conflicted states regarding their own humanity in the caregiver experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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