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Research Article  |   May 2005
Meanings and Purposes of Caring for a Family Member: An Autoethnography
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Steve Hoppes, PhD, OTR, is Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Oklahoma—Tulsa, 4502 E. 41st, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135; steve-hoppes@ouhsc.edu
  • Copyright © 2005 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / The Occupation of Caring for Children and Adults
Research Article   |   May 2005
Meanings and Purposes of Caring for a Family Member: An Autoethnography
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2005, Vol. 59, 262-272. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.3.262
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2005, Vol. 59, 262-272. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.3.262
Abstract

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.