This is the seventh paper in the Care Alliance Ireland Discussion Paper Series. The papers in this series are not intended to present a definitive account of a particular topic, but to introduce a less-discussed, sensitive or perhaps controversial topic for discussion within the wider community of academics, not-for-profit organisations and other interested parties.
The relative unavailability of studies specifically addressing the issue of the impact on intimate relationships of Family Carers is worth noting. The majority of studies that have been undertaken often focus exclusively on the impacts of the disability on the relationship, rather than the impact of caring on the partner/spouse providing care, or on the partner/spouse of a Family Carer. Consequently, this paper is exploratory in nature, and is based on discussions with professionals and Family Carers. Where reference material is available, it has been included; however, material was not available for all topics under discussion in this paper.
The inspiration for the paper has been drawn from conversations with some of our member organisations and a number of Family Carers. These Family Carers have indicated that while this topic may not be of relevance to all Family Carers, it is a topic which those supporting carers must be aware of, and not be afraid to address if necessary.