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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experiences of mid-life daughters who are caregivers to their mothers : a phenomenological study King, Mary Tiara (Ti)


Many mid-life daughters are primary caregivers to their elderly mothers. However, in most research studies daughters have been grouped with other caregivers; thus, the daughters' experiences have not been specifically identified. Without this information nurses will be unable to adequately assist mid-life caregiving daughters to attain their optimal levels of health. The phenomenological research method was the methodology used to elicit the experiences of the mid-life daughters. The phenomenological method was congruent with the feminist perspective -- the conceptual framework -- which guided the study. The feminist perspective elucidated the importance of eliciting not only the visible caregiving experiences of the mid-life daughters, but also their internal experiences -- their feelings -- and the meanings they gave to their experiences. The researcher recruited subjects for the study through a daughters-of-aging-parents program which was held at the Women's Resource Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. In order to collect the data, the researcher interviewed the subjects. Congruent with the phenomenological method, data collection and data analysis ran concurrently throughout the study. The conclusions that the researcher drew from the findings of this study include the following: at the start of a caregiving daughter-mother relationship, a daughter is very responsive to the needs of her mother; when a daughter realizes that she is self-sacrificing herself in order to care for her mother, she becomes less responsive to her mother's needs and focuses, instead, on caring for herself; a daughter who is able to identify her own needs and then act on them Is able to care for her mother and herself in a manner that meets both their needs; a daughter experiences a number of emotions while providing care for her mother; a daughter uses the logical process of working towards healthy differentiation in order to counterbalance her emotional reactivity, and a daughter who successfully counterbalances her emotions with logic discovers her basic self and becomes an entity distinct from, yet interdependent with, her mother.

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