Publication date

Self-management strategies of family caregivers faced with relatives with dementia.

Francke, A.L., Huis in het Veld, J., Verkaik, R., Meijel, B. van, Verkade, P.J., Werkman, W., Hertogh, C. Self-management strategies of family caregivers faced with relatives with dementia. Abstract. In: abstractbook 5th European Nursing Congress: 'Caring for older people: how can we do the right things right?' 4-7 oktober 2016, Rotterdam. 94
Self-management is not only important for patients, but also for family caregivers.

The aim of this presentation is to give insight into what makes dealing with behavior and mood changes stressful for family caregivers, and which self-management strategies they use in such situations.

Material & methods
Four qualitative online focus groups with 32 family caregivers of people with dementia were conducted. Transcripts of the focus group discussions were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Managing behavior and mood changes – such as depression, agitation and apathy – is a challenge for family caregivers. They must keep the person with dementia continuously occupied, and it is also challenging for them that they often see a different side to the relative than others in their network do. Moreover, in theory they know what to do, but they are often not able to put this into practice. Family caregivers use calming down and stimulation as strategies for managing the changes in the behavior and mood of their relative. Furthermore, family caregivers describe three strategies for self-management of their own caregiver stress: looking for distractions, getting rest, and discussing their feelings and experiences.

Behavior and mood changes of a person with dementia are challenging for family caregivers. They use several strategies to manage the mood and behavior changes, and also to manage their own caregiver stress. Nurses can support family caregivers, e.g. by emotional support and by giving them information about effective self-management strategies.