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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • dementing person;
  • formal carer;
  • homecare;
  • informal carer

Abstract

This paper presents a discussion of some of the results arising from a study into the inter-relationships between the dementing elderly in the community, and their informal and formal carers.

The results from one phase of the study, which gathered data from informal carers, were used in the development of an attitudinal questionnaire. The questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 60 formal carers drawn from a wide variety of health, social and voluntary services. The questionnaire sought to gather data about the formal carers’ responses to their work with dementing people and their co-resident informal carers.

The results of the questionnaire indicated that most of the formal carers believed that it was part of their job to maintain the dementing person in their own home and that they were effective in doing this. However, many of the respondents were uncertain whether homecare was best for the dementing person. The results also suggested that the majority of respondents felt that maintaining the dementing person at home was not detrimental to the informal carers welfare and that their intervention was effective in supporting the informal carer. These findings are discussed within the context of the informal carer phase of the study and demonstrate some variance between the formal and informal carer perspectives of care control and the significance of formal carer input.