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Caregivers of family members with dementia were involved in a dynamic decision making process to maintain tolerable situations

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QUESTION: How do family caregivers of people with dementia make decisions?


Multiple case study approach.


Wisconsin, USA.


28 caregivers (mean age 62 y, 60% women, 54% adult children, 40% spouses) were interviewed. Duration of providing care ranged from <6 months to >10 years. 71% of care receivers (mean age 80 y, 75% women) lived in a care facility, 14% lived at home alone, and 14% lived with the caregiver.


20 caregivers were initially interviewed in their homes for 45 minutes to 2 hours. They were asked about when they first recognised the signs of dementia and about some of the challenging decisions they had made and how they had made them. Interview transcripts were analysed to identify characteristics of the caregiver's decision making process; these were plotted on a timeline. Common themes emerged during cross-informant comparisons, and an …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr S Wackerbarth, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Kentucky, 435 Patterson Office Tower, 0027, Lexington, KY 40506-0027, USA. Fax +1 606 323 1937.