She Is a Very Special Person: Male caregiver in the intersection between informal and formal care
This paper presents the story of a Norwegian man in his mid-70s, primary caretaker for his wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Focus is on the cooperation with home-based public health-care services. The case is part of a larger qualitative research project on the topic. The story has come into being through narrative interviews followed up with telephone conversations and is analyzed with Antonovsky’s Sense of Coherence as a frame of reference. Three topics are highlighted: 1) The carer’s journey during the time of his wife’s illness; 2) His description and construction of meaning and ways of coping; 3) The interaction between him as a caregiver and professional health workers. The research project aims to highlight the rationality of caring facing the organizational/ bureaucratic framework conditions of home-based public health care. As the caregiver is watching his loved one being changed into someone who is unrecognizable he needs to adjust to a new reality of which a working relationship with home-based public health care is an element. Concerning the latter, a very important factor is the respect for the uniqueness of the couple’s story and situation, as well as the acknowledgement of the caregiver’s expertise – or lack thereof.