The experience of sons caring for a parent with dementia

Eilis McDonnell, Assumpta Ryan

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This study explored the experiences of sons caring for a parent with dementia. Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of sons (n = 13) in a rural part of Ireland. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analysed for common themes. The key themes that emerged were ‘the parental bond’, ‘a binding role’, ‘coordinating care and support’ and a ‘getting on with it’ approach to care. The study highlighted the commitment of sons to their caregiving role and the strong sense of duty that motivated them to provide care. The findings suggested that while many aspects of the caregiving experience such as lack of information and support are gender neutral, there are differences in the caregiving experiences of men and women in how they view their relationship with their parent and in the management of their caregiving role that merit further investigation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-802
Issue number6
Early online date16 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2014


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