Finding meaning in caring for a spouse with dementia

Bomin Shim, Julie Barroso, Catherine L. Gilliss, Linda L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Dementia caregiving can be burdensome with many challenges, especially for spousal caregivers who are elderly and may have limited resources and chronic conditions of their own. However, it can also be an opportunity for growth and transcendence. Thematic qualitative analysis was conducted with 11 caregiver interviews to investigate how spousal caregivers of individuals with dementia found personal meaning in their caregiving experience. Caregivers commonly had altruistic values, and the discipline to live those values. They found meaning by believing in a choice of attitude and perceiving satisfaction in living according to their values in life. They had faith in a higher power, a strong sense of love for their spouses and they derived strength from past challenges. Positive attitudes among caregivers of individuals with dementia may be enhanced by sharing these stories and strategies. Study results also provide an expansion beyond commonly held views of caregiving for nurses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Nursing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Caregiving
  • Dementia
  • Positive meaning
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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