Caregiver Perceptions of Wandering Behavior in the Adrd (Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias) Patient
Description: The dissertation examined family caregivers’ perceptions of wandering behavior after their loved one has been diagnosed with ADRD (Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias). Semi-structured in-depth face-to-face interviews of a convenience sample of 22 caregivers in the Dallas metropolitan area were conducted. Responses were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The use of qualitative methods facilitated the study of how caregivers of a loved one with ADRD understood and explained in their own voice the wandering behavior associated with the disease and how their views of the behavior informed the caregiving process. In particular, this research examined why some caregivers tend to recognize wandering behavior as significant early on while the ADRD patient is still living in the home (and community) and modifications can be made to keep him or her there despite the behavior, and why some caregivers do not. Findings indicated that caregivers were concerned about the general safety of their loved one. Precautions were taken within the home for conditions related to frailty, but were much less likely to be taken to address wandering behavior and its negative consequences. Three groups of caregivers emerged: (a) those who primarily reacted to their loved one’s problem behaviors including wandering, and intervened minimally; (b) those who were proactive, making modifications in their routines and environment to protect their loved one after a trigger event; and (c) those who had a mixed response, who did the best that they could with what they had. This last group of caregivers took on additional roles, modified their homes for safety, but environmental stressors and inadequate supports limited their interventions. Implications of the findings for aging in place and community, further research, policy-making, and practitioners are discussed.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Dickson, Patricia