Caregiving to Family Members with Dementia

  • Laurie Wermuth California State University, Chico


The emotional and physical stress experienced by family caregivers of individuals with dementia is well known (Vitaliano, Jianping, Young, Caswell, Scanlan, Echeverria, 2009). Pearlin and colleagues (1990) noted that caregiving is complex, involving a variety of resources and strategies. The purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand careproviders‟ situations in context, including the resources they had available, the meaning of their care, and the strategies they employed to cope. Sixteen family care providers of adults with dementia were recruited through an adult services agency in northern California. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977). Field notes and interview transcripts for participants were interpreted, and compared with CES-D scores. Eleven out of sixteen care providers had scores indicating risk for clinical depression. Two groups are described: those with low distress scores, and those with high distress scores, highlighting some of the patterns associated with each. A list of coping strategies is provided from respondents‟ interviews. Based on the findings, community-based supports are needed to care for the increasing numbers of elderly individuals in the coming decades.
How to Cite
Wermuth, L. (2011). Caregiving to Family Members with Dementia. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 9(1), 86-98.