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Caring for People With Young Onset Dementia: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Family Caregivers' Experiences

People with young onset dementia (YOD) experience many unique challenges. Similarly, family caregivers experience changing personal, familial, and societal roles. However, YOD is under recognized and under resourced with a lack of dedicated models of care. The current study explored family members' experience of caregiving for persons with YOD to identify barriers and opportunities to accessing support. Qualitative interviews were conducted with six family caregivers, using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings show that caregivers experience significant uncertainty within their role, difficulty accessing timely diagnosis, and face unclear care pathways and age-related restrictions to accessing support. These findings also reflect elements of ambiguous loss and anticipatory grief: caregivers experienced sudden changes to relationships and family structure, along with the anticipation of a changed future. Optimum models of care should target timely diagnosis and clear post-diagnosis pathways and services that are flexible, relevant, and accessible. Services should offer psychosocial support for family members as they adjust to their new role as caregivers.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
C.B.Slack
ISBN/ISSN
0279-3695
Publication Year
2019
Issue Number
11
Journal Titles
Journal Of Psychosocial Nursing And Mental Health Services
Volume Number
57
Start Page
37
End Page
44