Caregivers play a major role in providing all the support and care in daily activities for their relatives with dementia. To fully describe the influence of dementia caregiving on family caregivers’ life, we conducted a systematic review including caregivers’ perceptions about the positive and negative aspects of caring and the expressed factors.
We conducted a systematic review including articles from January 1998 to July 2020. Qualitative studies reporting family caregivers’ perceptions about their experiences and the effects/impact of dementia caregiving were eligible. Two authors extracted the data independently, and the analysis focused on the positive and negative aspects of dementia caregiving in caregivers’ life.
Eighty-one studies with 3347 participants were included in this review. The positive aspects of caregiving in caregivers’ life encompass personal accomplishment and strengthening relationships, which were enhanced by good medical counselling/formal care support and family/friends support. The negative aspects included emotional and social aspects experienced by caregivers. Other factors such as inappropriate medical/formal care support, illness progression and the costs of dementia contributed to negative appraisal.
The findings provide insights into the holistic experience of caring for a person with dementia revelling the major positive and negative aspects underlying the caregiver role. The evidence emphasises the need ‘to focus on positive aspects’ and targeted interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of caregiving, which has serious consequences on caregivers’ quality of life. A multicomplex intervention for dementia informal caregiving should be developed, committing the society to promote mental health, address these community needs and improve the quality of life of the person with dementia and their family caregivers.