Family Leisure Programs in Institutional Care Settings: Buffering the Stress of Caregivers
Keywords:Family Visits, Structured Leisure Programs, Social Support, Coping, Caregiver Burden
AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to report research findings pertaining to the role structured family leisure programs play in enhancing family visits and alleviating caregiver burden for family members of institutionalized older adults with Alzheimer's disease. The study was inductive in nature and data collection strategies consisted of participant observation, openended questionnaires, and in depth qualitative interviews. Four familial caregivers participated in a structured leisure activity comprising a family music program which took place during family visits with their care receivers twice a week over a six-week period. Evidence from the present study suggests that family leisure programs facilitate "quality" visits and the development of social support which together help to increase the coping capacity of caregivers. These factors, in turn, may provide "buffering mechanisms" which may serve to moderate the impact of caregiver stress on psychological health and well-being and provide the opportunity for the re-establishment of meaningful relationships. These results have implications for researchers, for institutions, and for policy makers.
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