Family caregiving and dementia : stresses, satisfactions and mediating factors in taking on and continuing in the caring role.
Background and aims
The predominant focus of research into family caregiving and dementia has been on
the stresses of caring. This project aimed to look at both the stresses and satisfactions
derived from caring for a close family member with dementia, and to explore
mediating factors in the decision to take on and continue in the caring role.
Design and participants
A two part, non-experimental design was used. Qualitative methods were used to
look at the subjective experiences of two groups of carers, 5 spouse/partners and 6
adult child carers. Quantitative data were obtained from a postal survey of 115 people
from a clinical service.
nata were collected from semi-structured interviews and from standardised
questionnaires on mood state and on the stresses and rewards of caring.
The main stresses for carers were related primarily to emotional and relationship
factors and to practical restrictions imposed by the caring role. The main satisfactions
derived from caring were also related to emotional and relationship factors, including the well-being of the care recipient. For many carers the role had evolved over time
and some felt they had not made an informed decision in taking on care.
An instrumental approach to the effects of caring may be less helpful than focusing on
the carers' goals and the extent to which they perceive themselves as achieving these.