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A bridge between a lonely soul and the surrounding world: A study on existential consequences of being closely related to a person with aphasia

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Author(s): Maria Nyström

Journal: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health & Well-Being
ISSN 1748-2623

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Close relatives | stroke | aphasia | community service | life world | hermeneutics

ABSTRACT
This study illuminates existential consequences of being closely related to a person suffering from aphasia. Seventeen close relatives were interviewed and their narratives were interpreted with inspiration from Ricoeur, Levinas, Husserl, Winnicot, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The emerging interpretations resulted in four themes that illuminate a life characterized by lost freedom, staying, a new form of relationship, and growing strong together with others. An overarching theme suggests that a life together with an aphasic person means being used as a bridge between the aphasic person and the surrounding world. Moreover, it illuminates that a close relative to a person with aphasia is a person who does not leave, despite a heavy burden of lonely responsibility. It is concluded that community services need to fulfill their responsibility of providing support to informal caregivers as suggested by the Swedish lawmakers.
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