Background: The prevalence of dementia is increasing among non-western immigrants. It is known that family care is provided relatively often among immigrant groups. Until now, however, relatively little was known about how relatives of people with dementia in the immigrant communities perceive family care. This study therefore focuses on describing the perspectives of female Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese Creole family carers in the Netherlands about providing family care to a close relative with dementia.
Methods: Forty-one individual interviews and six focus group interviews (n=28) were held with female Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese Creole family carers who are looking after a close relative with dementia. A qualitative analysis of the interviews has been carried out, supported by the software MaxQda.
Results: Related to their cultural and religious backgrounds, female family carers with Turkish, Moroccan or Surinamese Creole origins see family care as a task that they should carry out with respect and love. They feel that family care is superior to professional care and that it is principally a task for women. If men do have a role in family care, then it generally covers non-physical aspects. Despite the fact that the family carers interviewed listed aspects that make caring for a close relative with dementia difficult, they do say that they get a great deal of satisfaction from providing this care. In Turkish and Moroccan families in particular this type of care leads to more recognition and appreciation of the daughter or daughter-in-law who is giving it.
Conclusion: Family carers of Turkish, Moroccan or Surinamese Creole origin derive a great deal of satisfaction from giving family care to a relative with dementia. This fulfilment largely outweighs the burden of care. Professional support or information for these family carers can be improved by also focusing on the positive aspects of providing family care instead of an exclusive focus on reducing the burden.
Keywords: caregiver perspectives; dementia; family care; immigrants; informal care.
© The Author(s) 2014.