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Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2017 Dec;12(1):1275107. doi: 10.1080/17482631.2016.1275107. Epub 2017 Jan 17.

The relationship between geographical and social space and approaches to care among rural and urban caregivers caring for a family member with Dementia: a qualitative study.

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a Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Nursing , Karolinska Institute , Huddinge , Sweden.
b Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems, School of Nursing , University of Washington , Seattle , WA , USA.
c Aging Research Center (ARC) , Karolinska Institute , Stockholm , Sweden.
d Department of Health and Care Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences , Linneaus University , Kalmar , Sweden.


Knowledge about family caregivers in rural areas remains sparse. No studies to date have addressed the sociocultural aspects in caregiving, thus neglecting potentially significant data. This study aimed to explore and better understand family caregivers' experiences in rural and urban areas and the sociocultural spheres that these two areas represent. How do family caregivers approach their caregiving situation? A hermeneutical approach was chosen to uncover the underlying meanings of experiences. Open-ended in-depth interviews were conducted. The ontological and epistemological roots are based on hermeneutic philosophy, where a human being's existence is viewed as socially constructed. The study followed a purposeful sampling. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 rural and 11 urban family caregivers to persons with dementia. These were then analyzed in accordance with the hermeneutical process. The findings provide insight into the variations of family caregiver approaches to caregiving in rural and urban areas of Sweden. There seemed to be a prevalence of a more accepting and maintaining approach in the rural areas as compared to the urban areas, where caregiving was more often viewed as an obligation and something that limited one's space. Differences in the construction of family identity seemed to influence the participants approach to family caregiving. Therefore, community-based caregiving for the elderly needs to become aware of how living within a family differs and how this affects their views on being a caregiver. Thus, support systems must be individually adjusted to each family's lifestyles so that this is more in tune with their everyday lives.


Dementia; family caregivers; qualitative research; rural; urban

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