What it means to be an adult child of a person with dementia
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 8, Art. no. 21676- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The prevalence of dementia as a disease has increased worldwide with advancing age and growing population numbers, affecting whole families. However, most previous research does not separate the spouses or cohabitants from the adult children, but instead regards all next of kin involved in the everyday care of the person suffering from dementia as caregivers. This has made it difficult to find previous research regarding what it means to be an adult child of a person with dementia, and as such, the aim of this study is to explore that topic. The method used was narrative interviews analysed using phenomenological hermeneutics. Our comprehensive understanding showed that to be an adult child of a person with dementia means being burdened with the responsibility to act on behalf of the diseased parent despite a deep sense of grief and loss, which leads to frustration and despondence. The adult children’s existence and reality are threatened not only by the loss of the parent but also by the possibility that one day they too may inherit the disease. This could be compared to a psychic crisis, which is defined as a situation that leads to radical changes in the afflicted person’s relationship to life and reality, or, simply, ‘‘an upset in a steady state’’. The findings suggest that adult children of people with dementia are in need of support for a substantial period of time in order to adapt to the fact that they have lost a parent who is still alive. They also need information about the disease and the process of diagnosis and treatment to feel more a part of the process, as well as understand the behavior and needs of their parent.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, Art. no. 21676- p.
Adult children, dementia, life world, phenomenological hermeneutics, qualitative research
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20628DOI: 10.3402/qhw.v8i0.21676ISI: 000325897500001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84886691968OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-20628DiVA: diva2:678050