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In the shadow of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

In the shadow of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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The overall aim of this work was to explore informal caregivers’ daily life with particular focus on those living with a spouse who has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in different grades, mild to severe, based on the ill person’s main concern. Men and women living with a spouse suffering from mild COPD did not experience changes in their daily life, and were not in need of support. It was when the COPD gradually escalated that their daily life was affected and they needed support. The caregiving women conceived that their daily life was socially restricted, they had changed roles, changes in health and changes in the couple’s relationship. The caregiving men’s daily life was conceived as burdened, restricted and the partner relationship was affected. The men’s attitude was to continue with their own life and own activities, and their approach to their caregiving situation was to view themselves as “Me and my spouse”. The main concern for people suffering from COPD was feelings of guilt due to self-inflicted disease associated with smoking habits. The work shows that there are differences in informal caregiving between males and females.