Date of Conferral
Martha J. Giles
Dementia is a neurological disorder primarily diagnosed in the geriatric population. A problem for paid caregivers of patients diagnosed with stage-4 dementia is that they may experience caregiving stress while rendering care. However, there was no research that described the lived experiences of paid caregivers. Caregiving stress can be accompanied by behaviors or comorbid conditions and specific symptoms of stress can have a differential wellness impact. This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of paid caregivers of patients with dementia through Vroom's expectancy theory. Data were gathered through interpretative interviews from a sample of 10 to 15 purposefully selected nursing home paid caregivers. Research questions on the lived experiences and perceptions of caregivers when experiencing stress working with stage-4 dementia patients were explored. Responses to the open-ended questions were recorded and themes emerging from the interview questions were developed. Findings indicated that caregivers cope with their stress in part by coping with challenging patients through empathizing and being ready for anything. Results further showed that caregivers cope with stress by briefly withdrawing from the stress trigger, either physically or mentally. Caregiver stress can be reduced, and health maintained by other caregivers who learn from the coping methods of caregivers involved within this study.