Family carers are the most important source of dementia care, especially among ethnic minority populations, who are less likely to access health or social services. The evidence base on the carer experience in these communities is profoundly limited.
To explore the caregiving attitudes, experiences and needs of family carers of people with dementia from the three largest ethnic groups in the UK.
A qualitative study, using a grounded theory approach. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 32 carers of people with dementia (10 Black Caribbean, 10 south Asian, 12 White British).
Carers were identified as holding a ‘traditional’ or ‘non-traditional’ caregiver ideology, according to whether they conceptualised caregiving as natural, expected and virtuous. This informed feelings of fulfilment, strain, carers' fears and attitudes towards formal services. The majority of the south Asian, half of the Black Caribbean and a minority of the White British participants were found to possess a traditional ideology.
The findings suggest that specific cultural attitudes towards the caregiving role have important implications for how carers can best be supported.