The Experience of Older Adult Couples Living with Chronic Illness at Home
Antonelli, Mary T. “The Experience of Older Adult Couples Living with Chronic Illness at Home”. PhD, Boston College, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108083.
As the United States population ages, knowing and understanding the older adult couple’s experience living with chronic illness at home is significant to inform new strategies of care, and planning of resources for the improvement in the health and well-being for a potentially vulnerable population. The purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand the older adult couple’s experience while living with chronic illness at home by answering the following research questions: What is the life pattern manifested by an older adult couple living with chronic illness at home? Are there common themes across the life patterns of older adult couples living with chronic illness living at home? The theoretical framework guiding this study was Margaret Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness using a hermeneutic-dialectic phenomenology method. The study’s sample consisted of 14 married older adults (> 65 years of age) couples living together at home. The research method explored the experiences of the older adult couple through dialogue within the context of their social environment in all its complexity. This approach gave voice to the older adult couples’ experiences and their meaning from their perspective, which facilitated insights about each older adult couple as well as common themes across the older adult couples. Three themes emerged from the study, (1) an unfolding pattern of living meaningfully as an older adult couple with chronic illness while moving through life transitions, (2) couple interconnectedness strengthens the bonding within the older adult couple and promotes self-growth, and (3) a resonating process within the older adult couple promotes movement toward expanding consciousness. Conceptual models are proposed. The findings suggest older adult couples living with chronic illness at home strive to live meaningfully while experiencing multiple life transitions embedded in a resonating process that facilitates change.