Date of Conferral







Dr. Michael Plasay


In the United States, the occurrence of Alzheimer's dementia is growing. This chronic illness is highly prevalent in the elderly population. Studies have advised that the elderly population is primarily affected by this chronic illness as age progresses. Aging may lead to mental or physical deterioration. This chronic illness can be extremely challenging for the spousal caregivers involved and the challenging decisions that must be made. There remains a crucial gap in the literature concerning the challenges experienced by spousal caregivers and how they cope with these factors daily. Specifically, there are no studies exploring the perceptions of spousal caregivers and the emotions involved with long-term placement. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study was to use the grounded theory method and to explore the perceptions of 7 spousal caregivers and the emotions attached to decision making. The method involved open-ended interview questions to attain answers to the research questions involving experiences and observations of the caregiving role. Interview data were open-coded and analyzed for themes. The outcomes of this research will help aid in overcoming the challenges spouses face with the new role of spousal caregiving. This will add existing literature associated with elderly spousal caregivers and challenges faced when caring for an Alzheimer's individual. These outcomes can lead to social change and development through the implementation of positive coping strategies when dealing with the caregiving challenges and emotions attached to this role.