Understanding the next of kin’s experience of their life situation in informal caregiving of older persons

Elisabeth Liedström, Kirsti Skovdahl, Ann-Kristin Isaksson, Jenny Windahl, Annica Kihlgren


The experience of their life situation of next of kin in informal caregiving needs to be followed as they may need support tomaintain their own health and cope with continuing in their caregiving role. Many of these individuals, often the olderperson’s spouse, are elderly themselves. The aim of this study was to increase the understanding of the next of kin’sexperience of their life situation in connection with their informal caregiving of older persons. The study had a qualitativeapproach, with an inductive explorative design. Informal conversational interviews were conducted. Twelve next of kinwere interviewed, nine of them twice. In all, 21 interviews were performed, and subsequently subjected to latent contentanalysis. The theme that emerged from the data was “A balance or imbalance in next of kin’s daily life.” The threesubthemes were: (1) Balance and imbalance in the relationship with the older person, other family members, and friends;(2) Balance and imbalance in the relationship with the staff from municipal care; and (3) Balance and imbalance indemands, affecting the caregiver’s own health. Communication with mutual respect was described as a tool for creatinggood relations. The results of this study highlight the strained life experiences of next of kin while caring for older persons.There is a need to give more attention to the next of kin’s life situation and to find the means to support them. To reduceworry and stress, health care staff need to understand the next of kin’s experience of their life situation, and good relationsneed to be created among all involved in the care.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/cns.v2n1p53


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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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