• Alzheimer's disease;
  • ALSOVA-study;
  • content analysis;
  • family caregiving;
  • Salutogenic perspective


Family caregivers provide the majority of home care of people with Alzheimer's disease. In this study, we discuss family caregivers' life orientation and changes in life orientation during the first year after the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Family caregivers' unstructured diaries (n = 83), of the first six months after diagnosis (years 2002–2004), were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Two core themes emerged from the data analysis: the meaning of the onset of Alzheimer's disease for the lives of family caregivers, and restructuring life in its entirety. Family caregivers face challenges in their life orientation after the onset of their family members' Alzheimer's disease. Their personal milieu, familial cohesion, and conception of the future consequentially change. They face multiple challenges in the process of becoming caregivers. In this study, it was revealed that the process starts before the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and has an impact on their future. We conclude that family caregivers' well-being should be assessed at the time of the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.