Love between couples living with Alzheimer's disease: Narratives of spouse care-givers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this interdisciplinary study is to describe and analyse the meaning of love in relationships between couples living with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite the wealth of studies describing relationships in the face of AD, little is known about the experience and changing meaning of 'love' between spouses when one of them is suffering from AD. A qualitative narrative approach was used to capture what love means for couples when one spouse is living with AD. A combination of open discussion along with a semi-guided interview was conducted with N = 16 spouses of persons living with AD. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. A leading theme that emerges from the interviews is that AD provides a significant indicator of the meaning and understanding of the experience of love. Five major types of relationship developments occurred after the disease emerged: love died, love became weaker, love did not change, love was enhanced and the spouse fell in love again. The need for further research is discussed. The findings of this study offer an additional perspective to the existing literature, thereby providing a more comprehensive outlook on marital relationships within the context of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-517
Number of pages30
JournalAgeing and Society
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright Cambridge University Press 2017.

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • love
  • meaning
  • relationships
  • spouses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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