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Using photo-elicitation to explore the lived experience of informal caregivers of individuals living with dementia

Objectives: This study aims to explore the subjective lived experience of informal caregivers supporting an individual with dementia.; Design: This study uses the interpretive phenomenological approach utilizing the method of photo-elicitation and in-depth semi-structured interviews.; Methods: Six individuals were given a disposable camera to capture photographs which they felt illustrated their own lived experiences of being a caregiver of an individual living with dementia. Photographs were printed and used to form discussion within an in-depth semi-structured interview. The photographs provided an innovative way of capturing the lived experiences of formal dementia caregivers and allowed the interview data to be grounded in their daily living, centring around their own lived experiences.; Results: Three themes emerged from data analysis: 'conceptualising the role of informal caregiver', 'support for the informal caregiver', and 'the caregivers own needs'.; Conclusions: Findings demonstrated the complexity of the relationship between the caregiver and the person living with dementia, and the shift in this relationship specifically due to the role of carer, with notable differences between spousal caregivers and adult-child caregivers. The importance of social, emotional, and practical support for caregivers was highlighted, as well as significance of the caregiver's individual needs. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Informal caregivers of individuals living with dementia cover much of the associated health care costs. Informal caregiving of individuals living with dementia can lead to negative health outcomes of the carer. Health outcomes of informal caregivers living with dementia are grounded in culture and are influenced by multiple factors. What does this study add? The complexity of the transition from family member to informal caregiver has both a physical and emotional impact on caregivers. The transition, and experiences of informal caregiving, is dependent on the relationship to the individual living with dementia. Caregiver support and recognizing the caregiver's individual needs were imperative to caregiver well-being.

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John Wiley & Sons
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British Journal Of Health Psychology
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