Background: Informal caregivers have a vital role in supporting and caring for family members with dementia. Caregiving is complex and may lead to psychological, physical, social and financial stress for caregivers. Methods: This article reports the findings of an integrative review that explored the literature on the psychological effect of caring for a family member with dementia at home. Findings: The article discusses four themes that were identified in the literature: 'the world shrinks'; 'surrender to the unknown'; 'robbed of the future'; and 'torn between relief and guilt'. Conclusions: These themes provide insight into the holistic experience of caring for a family member with dementia, revealing the positive and negative psychological effects of the role.