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Research Article  |   January 2007
Everyday Occupation, Well-Being, and Identity: The Experience of Caregivers in Families With Dementia
Author Affiliations
  • Betty R. Hasselkus, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Emeritus Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; bh@education.wisc.edu
  • Bridget J. Murray, MSc, SROT, is Lecturer, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland
Article Information
Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia / Neurologic Conditions / Original Articles
Research Article   |   January 2007
Everyday Occupation, Well-Being, and Identity: The Experience of Caregivers in Families With Dementia
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2007, Vol. 61, 9-20. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.1.9
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2007, Vol. 61, 9-20. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.1.9
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of the nature of the daily occupations of caregivers for family members with dementia as related to the caregivers’ perceptions of well-being. Qualitative telephone interviews, focused on the experience of caregiving, were conducted with 33 caregiver–respondents; the data were transcribed and analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Everyday occupation emerged as a phenomenon that was central to the caregivers’ ways of evaluating and monitoring well-being in the care receivers and themselves. Further, occupational engagement served to help mitigate the potential biographical disruption of the dementia caregiving experience. The implications for occupational therapy personnel are convincing: Everyday occupation holds promise for contributing to the relative well-being of both caregivers and care receivers and for facilitating continuity of relationships and identity for the caregiver.