Date of Graduation
There seems to be an assumption in the United States that women can, should, and always will provide care for individuals with dementia. They now account for 72% of the caregiving pool. However, the assumption that they will continue to accept this role as they have in the past may be faulty and could put society at risk. Societal changes--the enormous increase in numbers of elderly, the changing roles of women, and the transformation in the structure of the traditional family--make a strong argument for possible shifts in the stance that women have traditionally taken on the question of caregiving. To determine the likelihood of such a shift, it is necessary to learn more about the process that leads women to choose or be chosen for the role. In-depth, person-to-person, semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen adult daughters who were primary caregivers for parents with dementia. Questions were crafted to learn the factors influencing their selection and the process by which they were chosen. Thirty-eight individual reasons were found and organized into ten categories: logistics, socialization, personality, parent-child relationship, healing of psychic wounds, exchange factors, quality of care, sibling relationships, external locus of control, and benefits to the caregiver. It appears that the caregiving decision is often not a conscious one. Initially, daughters have little understanding of their selection. Analysis of the data led to the development of a stage model to describe the evolution of awareness on the part of caregiving daughters. There is seldom a carefully thought-out plan for caregiving by professionals, families, or caregivers. The selection of caregiver is determined by a variety of often intertwined internal and external factors which seem to be controlled by fate more often than reason. This chance selection lends itself to the possibility of poor choice of caregiver, early burn-out, and refusal of the role by disenchanted daughters in the future.
Briggs, Rick Allan, "Factors influencing the selection of daughters as primary caregivers to parents with dementia." (1995). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8531.