Strength and stress: Positive and negative impacts on caregivers for older adults in Thailand

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Abstract

Aim:

To understand the experiences of caregivers with older people living in Thailand, particularly as related to quality of life and stress management.

Method:

In-depth interviews with 17 family caregivers were conducted and then data were thematically analysed.

Results:

Carers experience not only negative impacts but also positive impacts from caregiving. Negative impacts include emotional stress, financial struggles and worry due to lack of knowledge. Positive impacts include affection from care recipients, good relationships with caregivers before needing care themselves and encouragement from the wider community. Opportunities to show gratitude, build karma (from good deeds) and ideas shaped largely by Buddhist teachings result in positive experiences. Negotiating between the extremes of bliss and suffering and understanding suffering as a part of life may help carers manage their stress.

Conclusions:

Temples and centres for older people could be engaged to develop caregiving programs.

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