Thesis

What are the experiences of African American family member caregivers caring for loved one with dementia?

Alzheimer's is a progressive neurogenerative disease and is the most common cause of dementia. There are approximately 50 million people, worldwide living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and five million are Americans (Alzheimer's Association, 2018). By the year 2050, approximately 14 million people could be living with Alzheimer's disease or some form of dementia. There are approximately 16 million informal caregivers living in the United States caring for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias (Alzheimer's Association, 2018). The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the experience's African American family member caregivers caring for a loved one with dementia because African Americans have been under represented in previous research. A qualitative exploratory study was conducted. The participant was interviewed in a setting most comfortable. An in-depth, semi-structured interview was conducted. The participant was asked 10 open-ended questions. The participant was African American, a primary caregiver, and loved one has Vascular dementia. Deductive coding was utilized to code the interview which is a "top-down approach to coding qualitative data using pre-set coding schemes. There were five themes were identified: caregiver burden, culture, communication, support, and life being placed on hold. The findings showed caregiving does change the caregiver's life and has some challenges. Caregivers need support from family and friends, as well as community resources when they become a primary caregiver for a loved one with dementia. Also, support allows the caregiver's time for self-care and time to meet their own basic needs, it decreases the burden that caregivers often feel. The caregiver's life can change drastically when becoming a primary caregiver for a loved one with dementia.

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