"You don't want to burden them": older adults' views on family involvement in care

J Fam Nurs. 2009 Aug;15(3):295-317. doi: 10.1177/1074840709337247. Epub 2009 May 27.


Burden emerged as an important concept among older adults in a study of how older adults interact with their families around care. The authors conducted 50 semistructured interviews with adults older than the age of 65 years and a spouse or adult child. The sample was stratified by ethnicity thus giving the opportunity to explore both ethnic similarities and differences. Older adults who expressed the concept of burden were more likely to be White compared with older adults who did not express burden. Older respondents discussed burden in relation to not wanting to complicate the busy lives of adult children, guilt about health problems, and concern that children were overly worried about the care of their older family member. The expression and meaning of burden differed according to ethnicity. This study has implications for practice and policies to meet the needs of families and promote the independence of older persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult Children
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Black or African American
  • Caregivers*
  • Chronic Disease* / nursing
  • Cost of Illness
  • Family Relations / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • White People