Towards resilience in family caregiving for people with dementia

Dementia affects almost 47,000 adults in Ireland. Dementia affects a person's mental and social abilities, including the ability to think clearly, remember, form lasting relationships and has a subsequent decline in physical health. Most people with dementia are cared for at home by a family member. Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging for some carers, often affecting their health and their ability to maintain normal social relationships outside the home. This can lead to the carer becoming unwell and socially isolated, feeling forgotten and left to care alone. This can affect the carer's ability to be an active member of society. People with dementia are more likely to remain in their own home, with less physical activity, if their carers are unable to adapt to the physical and psychological demands of caring as well as cope with the ability to adapt their lives; we call these abilities 'resilience'. Given the challenges associated with family caregiving in dementia, improving carers' resilience can ensure that caregivers are more connected socially and more resourceful in accessing services and supports thus reducing the burden and isolation of their roles. In this study we will assess carers' ability to cope with and adjust to the demands of caring. Together with a small group of carers, we will design a programme to help carers become more resilient. This programme will be offered to a larger group of carers and those who take part in the programme will be asked about their experiences and whether or not the programme helped them as carers. This study is important because it will provide information about carers' experiences and develop a programme for strengthening carers' resilience, which if successful, can be used on a larger scale throughout the country.

Award Date
26 June 2015
Award Value
€321,769
Principal Investigator
Professor Gerard Fealy
Host Institution
University College Dublin
Scheme
Applied Research Projects in Dementia