J Korean Acad Adult Nurs.  1998 Dec;10(3):492-505.

A Study on the Lived Experiences of the Family Caregivers in Senile Dementia


The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the lived experience of the family caregivers with the demented elderly. For investigate purposes of this study, data collection was done from May 9th to October 16th 1997, by means of in-depth interviews with 6 individuals in caregiving families. The research question was "What are the lived experiences of being a family caregiver with the demented elderly? "All interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed for the analysis using Colaizzi's method. The main results of this study were as follows : 1) Family caregivers ascribed the cause of the dementia to 'environmental change' and the 'introverted personality of the elderly'. 2) Family caregivers let the demented elderly alone initially and then they restrained the elderly who was in a fit of dementia. 3) The coping response of family caregivers varied. The coping reponses were (1) having their moods go up and down, (2) enduring and praying, (3) avoiding the elderly, (4) hoping for release from responsibility, (5) enduring their conditions(obligations), (6) accepting the elderly, (7) taking an objective view, and (8) taking safety measures. 4) The long ordeal of coping with a demented elderly person resulted in the (1) loss of physical and psychological well-being, (2) ethical conflicts, (3) family conflicts, (4) become desperate, (5) rejection of the aging process, (6) sympathy and understanding for the elderly, (7) awareness that the support system is important and (8) hope of sharing their responsibility. The results of this study may help nurses to understand the lived experiences of the family caregivers with the demented elderly better, in order to provide more basic data for the development of educational programs for dementia family caregivers. It may help to make the coping process easier and more successful for the family members of the demented elderly.


Senile Dementia; The lived experiences of Family sCaregiver
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