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Seeking respite: issues around the use of day respite care for the carers of people with dementia

Ageing in Place policies have transferred responsibility for many frail elderly people and those living with dementia from residential to in-home care. Despite this placing a greater obligation on families, in Australia carers continue to under-use day respite services. This qualitative design study identified issues around the use of day respite care from the perspective of the family carer, focusing on barriers to attendance and strategies to facilitate attendance. Telephone interviews were held in 2007 with Tasmanian carers whose family member refused to attend day respite care (ten carers) and those whose family member attended (17). Carers considering day respite care were often overwhelmed by the quantity of information, confused about the process, and worried about the recipient's safety in an unfamiliar environment. They felt anxious about public acknowledgement of the condition leading to fear of embarrassment. Day respite care users appreciated the break it provided them and the opportunity for their family member to socialise. To facilitate a greater uptake of day respite care, reliable information sources and strategies to help carers deal with the emotions they face on a daily basis, together with a wider social acceptance of dementia, are important. Furthermore, carers need an opportunity to talk with others, enabling them to gain support from those who have successfully introduced a family member to day respite care.

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Ageing & Society

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