Marital relationships in dementia are forged between the person with dementia and the care partner, and such relationships have an impact on the way in which dementia is understood and experienced. The everyday work that underpins the relationship is usually divided between spouses and based on traditional divisions of household chores.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
The aim was to describe how older women with dementia express the importance of their homes and their chores in everyday life.
Seven women with dementia, who were cohabiting with their husbands, were interviewed on up to five occasions at home during a five-to-six-year period on the following themes: the home, their dementia illness, everyday life, their relationships with their husbands and dignity and autonomy.
The qualitative analysis showed three different patterns in the women's narratives: keeping the core of the self through the home, keeping the self through polarising division of labour and keeping the self through (re-) negotiations of responsibilities. The feeling of one's home and home-related chores is an essential way to express who you are.
The women stated that household chores are the centre of their lives despite their dementia disease and that the home, even though it shrinks, still makes the women see themselves as an important person, namely the 'competent wife'.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:
Nurses need to be aware that 'doing gender' may be a means of preserving personhood as well as of sustaining couplehood in dementia.
2015. Vol. 10, no 2, 127-135 p.