Features of problematic eating behaviors among community-dwelling older adults with dementia: Family caregivers' experience

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Abstract

This study aimed to explore family caregivers' experience of the problematic eating behaviors among community-dwelling older adults with dementia, and how these caregivers cope with these problems. An exploratory qualitative study using purposive sampling recruited family caregivers of community-dwelling older adults with dementia in southern Taiwan. In-depth interviews were carried out with a semi-structured interview guide. Data were saturated when the number of participants reached a certain number. The following three features were derived from the content analysis: fundamental deviations of eating behaviors, expressing needs through eating behaviors, and loss of eating ability. The results also show that caregivers often derived their own ways of coping with the problems they faced, and tended to have negative attitudes and behaviors with regard to coping with the demands of older adults with dementia. The findings of this study can provide valuable information to family caregivers with regard to the problematic eating behaviors of older adults with dementia, so that early recognition and understanding of such behaviors facilitate appropriate responses, thus reducing the burden shouldered by caregivers.

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