The impact of dementia caregiving on self-care management of caregivers and facilitators: a qualitative study

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Caregivers of patients with dementia or Alzheimer's disease (AD) face special health challenges due to the progressive nature of the disease. Self-care has crucial importance on individuals’ management of life, health, and well-being. However, limited evidence is available on self-care management of dementia and AD caregivers. This study aimed to investigate the influence of caregiving on the self-care management of dementia and AD caregivers based on the caregivers’ experience. In addition, the facilitators of caregivers’ self-care management were assessed.


A sample of 45 caregivers of patients with dementia or AD was recruited from a local community in the south-eastern USA. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed by the method of cross-case thematic analysis of qualitative data.


As reported by the caregivers, caregiving negatively influenced their self-care management, including physical self-care and mental and social self-care. Both internal and external facilitators were found that can assist caregivers’ self-care. Caregivers differ considerably in their demographic characteristics, caregiving tasks, and self needs.


Self-care management of dementia and AD caregivers can be largely affected by caregiving. Awareness, motivation, and knowledge of self-care, as well as knowledge of health-care resources, are important prerequisites for caregivers to achieve self-care management. Given the massive differences in caregiving situations, future intervention studies based on the specific needs of individual caregivers are warranted.

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