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“The right hand helps the left”: Care in couplehood where both partners are disabled
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Couplehood is an area of relationship between disabled people that is underresearched in comparison to self-evident family relationships with their parents and siblings. Although disabled people do enter into relationships with one another and there are expanding networks between disabled adults, few texts explore partnerships of love between the physically disabled. Most texts that discuss disability and relationships usually only describe spousal care by an able-bodied partner to a disabled one. It is also taken for granted that the disability was acquired after the marriage. But how does spousal care look like in a relationship where both partners are seen to be in need of help? How do the actualizations of such care change over time, over changing bodily states and with age? This paper describes a newly started PhD project placed at the intersection of disability studies, care studies and gerontology. The aim of the project is to explore the actualizations of care between disabled couples above the age of 55, who can both look back on a long relationship together, as well as look ahead to their future. Evidently, what is of interest to the project are not couples who acquire disability with advanced age, but rather those who have acquired impairments earlier in life. The focus is on the concept of care understood in a broader meaning, which challenges notions of dependence in care. The preliminary results of the qualitative interview study will be discussed. Interviews have been conducted with couples, where both partners have a long-term disability and have had the opportunity to live long lives together with their impairments. The dichotomy between caregiver and care receiver become less clear as partners usually take on both these roles simultaneously. Care in the relationships might also have different meanings and actualizations depending on the changing needs and bodily states of both partners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lancaster, UK, 2010.
Keyword [en]
old couples, disability, care, Sweden
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-63909OAI: diva2:384124
Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, 7th-9th September 2010
Disability, Life Course and Ageing (FÅLK)
Available from: 2011-01-07 Created: 2011-01-07 Last updated: 2011-02-16

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Torgé, Cristina Joy
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NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later LifeDepartment of Social and Welfare StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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