Care-full: exploring the health and wellness issues facing women caregivers

Date

2016-05-02

Authors

Heath, Holly Marie

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Abstract

Informal caregiving for aging Canadians plays a vital role in the health care system, and scholars have noted the urgency and primacy of studying this important contribution provided by a relatively invisible cadre of volunteers, family members and friends. Despite the recent attention caregiving has received in the scholarly literature, it is dominated by quantitative research. The purpose of this qualitative inquiry was to explore the lived experiences of female caregivers in terms of their perspectives on caregiving and their own personal health and wellness. A sample of seven female caregivers was obtained using a combination of both purposive and snowball sampling. Through semi-structured interviews participants were asked to describe their experiences as a caregiver. A primary theme “one day at a time” emerged from the data. Within this overarching narrative were three sub-themes: “Intensive care”, “Transitions”, and “Support” found to characterize their caregiving realities including both positive and negative aspects. Capturing a rich understanding of the lived experience of female caregivers, intentionally including and honouring their voices, can inform the design and implementation of health promoting policies, programs, and interventions, as well as identify avenues and approaches to future research.

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Keywords

Qualitative, Lived experience, Informal caregiving, Health and wellness

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