Extended Family Caregivers for Persons Living With Dementia
Despite changes in the structure of contemporary families, little is known about extended family members—siblings, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, stepkin—who are primary caregivers for a relative living with dementia. Information about these caregivers is needed to help ensure their needs are understood by providers in health care and social service settings. The focus of this research was on the care situations of extended family caregivers and the impact of caregiving on their health and well-being. In Study 1, data from the National Study of Caregiving were used to describe the experiences of 107 extended family caregivers. In Study 2, case study techniques elicited additional information about the experiences of 10 extended family caregivers. Collectively, these caregivers provide care with little or no formal support and occasional help from a small informal network. Caregiving affected their physical and emotional health, depending on the strength of the relationship between the caregiver and the person living with dementia and the type of care provided. Findings contribute new knowledge about extended family caregivers and highlight the important role extended family dementia caregivers play and the challenges they face.