Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
SILVEIRA, Teresinha Mello da; CALDAS, Célia Pereira and CARNEIRO, Terezinha Féres. Caring for the highly dependent elderly in the community: a study on the main family caregivers. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.8, pp. 1629-1638. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2006000800011.
This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the main family caregivers of highly dependent elderly. Performed in a geriatric outpatient unit, the study used a content analysis methodology, and data were collected with interviews and 14 group sessions with 24 subjects. The following categories emerged: denial versus acceptance of the disease before and after diagnosis; how and why the main caregiver assumes this role; caregiver's characteristics; caregiver's experiences; meanings ascribed to care-giving; history of the caregiver's relationship to the elder before the disease; caregiver/elder relationship since onset of the disease; changes in the caregiver's life; changes in the family; and causes for the appearance of the disease. In conclusion, there are three dimensions in the target issue: (1) implications of the legacies, multi-generational transmission, repetition of the patterns, and myths and beliefs in each family system; (2) seniors as active participants in the care-giving decision; and (3) the support group as a key resource for the family.
Keywords : Aged; Caregivers; Family.