Dr Catherine Quinn, a lecturer at the Centre of Applied Dementia Research, has been looking at the literature on the positive experiences of carers providing care to people living with dementia. This work has been recently published online in The Gerontologist https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny168
Carers are family members, friends, or other supporters who provide help and support to people living with dementia. Carers will have different experiences of caring and many factors influence how carers respond to and adapt to caring. Carers may experience feelings of stress due to their caring role. Carers may also describe how caring can be a rewarding experience. For example, carers have described how caregiving has strengthened their relationship with the person with dementia or has made them more resilient. We were interested to find out how these positive experiences were related to the carers’ well-being.
In a systematic review of 53 studies we found that identifying positive experiences in providing care is broadly associated with better carer well-being, but not in how carers rate their health. Those carers that could identify positive aspects in providing care had lower depressive symptoms and burden. They also had better mental health, quality of life, satisfaction with life, and caring competence.
The findings of this review suggest that identifying positive experiences in providing care is associated with better carer well-being. More research is needed to explore how this relationship changes over time.
These findings have important implications for the development of interventions and supportive services for carers, which need to consider addressing both positive and negative aspects of caregiving to improve carer well-being. Interventions that support carers and help them identify positive experiences in caring could be beneficial for their well-being.
To read the published paper see:
Quinn, C. & Toms, G. (2018). Influence of Positive Aspects of Dementia Caregiving on Caregivers’ Well-Being: A Systematic Review. The Gerontologist. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny168
Written by Dr Catherine Quinn