Exploring self-care among dementia caregivers:the role of perceived support in accomplishing exercise goals

J Women Aging. 2004;16(1-2):71-86. doi: 10.1300/J074v16n01_06.


Support provided by family and friends may influence the extent to which older women who are primary caregivers for a spouse with dementia adhere to an exercise routine. The current study reports on qualitative interviews with 30 older female caregivers taking part in an exercise intervention regarding the support they received for their exercise goals. Results indicate that nearly all women received some level of verbal encouragement from family and friends, though far fewer had exercise partners or someone to stay with their husbands while they exercised. To reflect the wide variation observed in the amount of exercise support received and needed by caregivers, a typology of support situations was constructed as follows: Self-reliant, Well-supported, Under-supported, and Superfluous support. Implications for future exercise interventions targeting this population are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Social Support*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Truth Disclosure