Experiences of Communicating with Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Phenomenological Study of Family Caregivers
Keywords:Alzheimer’s disease, Communication, Family caregivers, Older adults, Qualitative research, Phenomenology, Thematic analysis
Communication allows people to make sense of the world, for people to connect, establish, maintain and change relationships. The declining communicative abilities of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, however, may affect the quality of life of both caregivers and older adults. This study aimed to explore and better understand the lived experiences of family caregivers in communicating with older adults with this disease. An interpretative phenomenological approach was conducted in the province of Songkhla, Thailand between November 2018 to June 2019. Ten family caregivers were selected by purposeful sampling. Open-ended, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Two main themes were identified that represented areas of communication: engaging in troublesome communication; and inability to relate to each other. Effective communication strategies and techniques to improve communication problems were identified such as showing respect, compliance, distraction and therapeutic lies. After understanding the findings of this study, nurse practitioners and nurses need to understand the importance of assessing and analyzing the communication issues between caregivers and their older relatives.
Our findings can be a basis for planning and developing appropriate supports to enhance communication skill of the family caregivers within the context of daily communication with older adults with Alzheimer’s disease.
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