The experiences of grandchildren who provide care for a grandparent with dementia: A systematic review

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Dementia, Ahead of Print.
Much of the research exploring the experiences of family caregivers of people with dementia has focussed on spouses and adult children. It is hypothesised that other family members at different life stages and with different family roles may experience and perceive the caregiving role differently. The objective of the current review was to explore the experiences of grandchildren who provide care to a grandparent with dementia. A systematic search of four databases identified 12 studies which met the inclusion criteria. An assessment of quality was completed for each of the included studies. Grandchildren described dementia-related changes, changes to their role and relationship with their grandparent, multiple impacts of caregiving, influences of other family relationships on caregiving and positive aspects of caregiving. Many of the included studies met most of the quality criteria for the respective methodological design; however, there was some variation in quality and sample across included studies. The review indicates that assessments and interventions to incorporate grandchildren and the wider family system may help to support family carers to continue to provide care for grandparents with dementia. The research and clinical implications and limitations of the review are also considered.

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