Exploration of family caregivers’ experiences on coping in dementia care in Ghana: a phenomenological study



Abstract Background Dementia is an important public health and geriatric concern for sub-Saharan African countries, including Ghana. Evidence shows that persons living with dementia are often supported and cared for by family caregivers in the community. In the execution of these services to the persons living with dementia, family caregivers are overwhelmed and experience heightened stress that results in serious repercussions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore family caregivers’ experiences on coping in dementia care in Ghana. Methods Adopting a descriptive phenomenological design, individual face-to-face interviews were conducted among thirty unpaid family caregivers of persons living with dementia in Ghana. Semi-structured interview guides were used. The data analysis process followed Clarke and Braun’s framework analysis. Results Six themes were generated from the textual data. These themes were captioned as: (1) empathy and perspective-taking; (2) family support and cohesion; (3) coaxing and pampering of persons living with dementia; (4) humour and positive communication; (5) spiritual support; and (6) ethical/moral consideration in dementia caregiving. Conclusion We conclude that unpaid family caregivers of persons living with dementia in Ghana adopt varied strategies to cope with the strains of caregiving. Healthcare facilities that provide services to persons living with dementia could incorporate caregiver preparatory training or education for family caregivers. This training should focus on briefing family caregivers about the potential strains that they are likely to encounter. Also, the training could focus on equipping family caregivers with the knowledge and skills to effectively communicate and care for the persons living with dementia using person-centered approaches. Key stakeholders such as the Ghana Health Service and Alzheimer’s Ghana must raise awareness about the dangers of caregivers’ violation of the autonomy and freedom of persons living with dementia as they navigate through the challenges of caregiving. Lastly, faith-based institutions need to be considered as key stakeholders in dementia interventions since they could play a critical role.
Date made available2024

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