Family Caregivers' Experiences: Caring for Person in Stages Four to Seven of Alzheimer's Disease

Family Caregivers' Experiences: Caring for Person in Stages Four to Seven of Alzheimer's Disease

Author: 
Violet Verona Rawlins
Program of study: 
D.H.A.
Abstract: 
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive type of dementia that often leads to multifaceted problems for family caregivers. The purpose of the descriptive phenomenological study was to explore the family caregiver’s experience of providing care to a family member in stages four to seven of AD, during the six months before and first 12 months of nursing home placement. The study was conducted to help health care professionals improve, understand, and avert misconceptions of the family caregiver’s experience of the caregiving role. The study involved two semi-structured interview questions with 10 caregiver participants from a nursing home located in the northeastern part of Toronto. The phenomenological study used the van Kaam design adapted and modified by Moustakas for data analysis that helped generate findings of five themes conveyed as: (a) family caregiver need to understand the AD, (b) family caregiver constant caregiving at home (c) family caregiver management of problematic behaviors, (d) family caregiver decision-making, and (e) family caregiver improvement of quality of life in the nursing home. The conclusion and recommendations derived from the study’s analysis conveyed the importance of health care professionals, through collaboration with policy makers, educating family caregivers about AD and the types of support require and available during the caregiving role. The current findings can contribute to knowledge about the AD and its impact on placement decisions. The results of the current study add to the prior literature on family caregivers’ experiences of the caregiving role when caring for a family member with AD.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my dear parents, Icyline and Arnold. Thank you mom and dad for your unconditional love! Thanks to my loving husband, John and family – Jeff, Voweth, Vaster, Janna, Gawain, Liliana, Santiago, and Avril for encouraging and supporting me continuously throughout my academic journey. Thanks to Lesley and Brock for believing in me and understanding the importance of my accomplishment. I thank you all for inspiring me on my scholarly journey on which the ‘night oil’ burned with many sleepless nights and Jesus by my side. Through spiritual guidance I have endured my journey because the Lord Jesus Christ has renewed my strength.
Acknowledgements: 
I thank God for giving me the strength to continue when I needed spiritual support and guidance. I would like to extend my deepest and sincere gratitude to my Chair, Dr. Gema G. Hernandez who mentored me throughout the dissertation process. Dr. Hernandez, your guidance and commitment throughout this process were tremendously beneficial to me. I would also like to extend my gratitude to my Committee Member, Dr. Patricia Finch-Guthrie for steering me in the direction towards the analytical approaches and at times helping to decipher the emerging themes. I sincerely thank my other Committee Member, Dr. Ernesto Escobedo for keeping an extra eye on my work, ensuring that it was fine-tuned and scholarly. In addition, I would like to thank the participants for sharing their lived experiences with me, knowing that such experiences can lead to knowledge acquisition for health care professionals. Special thanks to my Editor, Dr. Julie McGonegal for ensuring that my work was clear and concise. Dr. Julie, you are commendable! Dr. Ford Craig I thank you for enlightening me when I commenced my dissertation journey; your retirement came too soon!