Elderly Care and the Multiple-Role Woman: How Social Support May Ease Caregiver Burden

Open Access
Author:
Dabiero, Matthew
Area of Honors:
Communication Arts and Sciences
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jon F Nussbaum, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lori Ann Bedell, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • caregiving
  • caregiver burden
  • dementia
  • social support
Abstract:
Informal family caregivers experience a wide range of demands and difficulties that impact their physical, mental, emotional, and relational well-being. Middle-aged women who provide care for an elderly dependent adult are forced to balance caregiving alongside the duties they fulfill in a host of other relationships and roles in their life. Much research has been done on the impacts of caregiving on informal family caregivers, and this study looks specifically at how caregiving affects a woman’s relationships and communication within those relationships. The purpose of this study is to better understand the lived experience of female caregivers around midlife who are providing care for an elderly dependent adult while balancing a wide variety of responsibilities in other role spheres of their life. Analyses reveal both the relational benefits that may arise through the caregiving experience and the detrimental impacts it can have on one’s health and relational well-being. This study highlights the importance of social support in providing a multidimensional support system for individuals struggling with the hardships of caregiving.