Living with Chronic Illness

Living with Chronic Illness
Demonstrate that you have read the reading this week by answering the following: What did you think of this article? Of all the ways that chronic illness might affect the ill person’s life (social isolation, becoming a burden, living a restricted life, etc.) which do you think would be the most difficult for you? In what ways might they have an even greater effect on someone in the aging population?

AGE 352 Week 2 Introduction

1. As with all illness and disease, the suffering endured by those with chronic illness has traditionally been viewed through the “medical model”. This model defines health and illness in terms of the physical body’s anatomy and physiology. The medical model assumes that there is no connection between the physical self and the spiritual self, it is purely scientific in its definition of illness. Currently, there is a lot of research that demonstrates that there is, in fact, a connection between the mind and the body, and that very often one’s mental health, personal life (such as social support), and the lived environment can have a substantial effect on health. This is evidenced by the plethora of holistic techniques that exist for maintaining or regaining health, many of which are borrowed from other cultures. Still, the medical model of care dominates in the Western world. Karen Charmaz, in “Loss of Self: a Fundamental Form of Suffering in the Chronically Ill” describes the medical model as “a narrow medicalized view of suffering, solely defined as physical discomfort, [that] ignores or minimizes the broader significance of the suffering experienced by debilitated chronically ill adults”. This week, we will look at how living with chronic illness can affect people in ways that could never be described by the medical model of care. You will notice that the reading this week is based on several interviews with people who have been affected by chronic illness. These are called qualitative research methods: researchers interview participants and then they look for common themes among all the interviews in order to draw conclusions. Qualitative studies can provide extremely rich information about the study topic-and can be very useful for studying something as personal as living with chronic illness. As we advance through the semester and learn about specific chronic illnesses and how they affect the aging population and those around them, I want you to keep in mind some of the points made in this week’s reading. Try to remember how the experience of chronic illness can affect people far beyond the physical.

2. Reading this week can be found in the Week 2 folder:
Charmaz, K. (1983). Loss of self: a fundamental form of suffering in the chronically ill. Sociology of Health and Illness, 5(2), 168-195.

3. Discussion Board: Please demonstrate that you have read the reading this week by answering the following: What did you think of this article? Of all the ways that chronic illness might affect the ill person’s life (social isolation, becoming a burden, living a restricted life, etc.) which do you think would be the most difficult for you? In what ways might they have an even greater effect on someone in the aging population?

This discussion board will not be graded! However, please make an effort to participate this week, including reacting to your classmates’ comments, etc.