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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 278-283

Bitter experiences of elderly parents of children with intellectual disabilities: A phenomenological study

1 ian Research Center on Aging, Department of Aging, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Health in Emergency and Disaster Department and Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran Iran; Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
3 Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Robab Sahaf
Kodakyar Avenue, Daneshjo Boulevard, Evin, Tehran - 19857 13834
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1735-9066.180385

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Background: It is predicted that over the next 30 years, there will be a significant increase in the number of elderly parents who care for their children with intellectual disability. This paper is part of a larger qualitative study which investigated the unpleasant experiences of these parents. Materials and Methods: A phenomenological approach was adopted and data were collected through unstructured in-depth interviews with elderly parents of children with intellectual disability. The data were analyzed using Colaizzi's seven-step method. Results: “Bitterness” is one of the four emergent themes extracted in this study which has five theme clusters: inappropriate behavior toward the child in the society, the society's failure to support the child with intellectual disability, sorrows experienced by parents, the child's problems, and barriers in the care of the child with intellectual disability. One significant barrier in the last theme cluster is limitations due to aging. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that the elderly parents of children with intellectual disability experience many sorrows and unpleasant feelings, but they mostly consider the social factors as the cause of problems and not the presence of the child. The results also indicate that older parents cannot look after the child as before in their old age; so, future well-designed studies are required for identification of the process of supporting them.

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