Steve Hoppes; Meanings and Purposes of Caring for a Family Member: An Autoethnography. Am J Occup Ther 2005;59(3):262-272. doi: 10.5014/ajot.59.3.262.
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© 2014 American Occupational Therapy Association
Engagement in two interlinked areas of occupation, familial social participation and caring for my father at the end of his life, led to a journey of self-discovery. A qualitative research methodology, autoethnography, is used to develop a narrative that examines engagement in these two occupations before, during, and after my father’s illness and death. I discuss meanings and purposes of familial social participation and caregiving, suggesting that transforming fear of death to awareness of death is a central purpose of caregiving. Implications for therapists and caregivers include considerations about the value of occupation, discussion of a continuum of caregiving, examination of boundaries when caring for a parent, thoughts about the roles of altruism, love, anger, and “bad faith” in caregiving, and analysis of sons as caregivers for fathers. Further research on meanings and purposes of caregiving is proposed.
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