Social representations (SRs) contain 3 dimensions: information, attitude, and field. These affect the recognition of the first symptoms of dementia by the patient’s caregiver. This study focused on the period from the first signs of cognitive difficulties to the diagnosis of dementia.Methods:
Eight caregivers of elderly patients with dementia were interviewed to construct their SRs regarding dementia and how this influences seeking medical treatment during the first stages of the disease. Social representations were analyzed through a structural focus, based on the content analysis.Results:
Decision making is related to knowledge about dementia, attitude (emotions and sensitivity), and the concept of the caregiver about the relative with dementia. The results confirm the importance of the symbolic dimension of personal experience in managing care and seeking medical treatment.Conclusion:
The presence of dementia in the family creates interpersonal dilemmas that caregivers experience. The solutions are framed in the sociocultural context.