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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The well-being of older wives caring for husbands with Alzheimer’s disease Brown, Pamela Lee


This study was conducted to document the well-being of older wives caring for husbands diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire designed to elicit information regarding the caregivers' physical health, mental health, participation in and satisfaction with preferred activities, financial resources and health behaviours. Analyses of the data revealed that the wives were experiencing deficits in all domains of their well-being with the exception of financial resources. These deficits were significantly more profound than the deficits experienced by a sample representative of the general population and a sample of a more heterogenous group of caregivers. Normative data on the well-being of older women fail to account, in full, for the discrepancies between the study wives and the 2 comparison samples. These findings support the thesis that the caregiving experience per se is responsible, in part, for the deficits in the wives' well-being. They also demonstrate that older wives caring for husbands with Alzheimer's Disease are a group of caregivers particularly at risk to experience deficits in their well-being as a result of caregiving. The conclusions support the need for nurses to view caregivers as patients, in their own right, who require regular and frequent assessment and intervention. Community programs must incorporate the needs of caregivers into their mandate to ensure that their well-being is not at risk due to the demands or burden of caregiving. Other implications and suggestions for further study are discussed.

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