Dementia care-sharing and migration: An intersectional exploration of family carers' experiences

Elsevier, Journal of Aging Studies, Volume 60, March 2022
Ahmad M., van den Broeke J., Saharso S., Tonkens E.

Background and objectives: Previous studies show that persons with a migration background (PwM) caring for a family member with dementia often experience access barriers to formal care services, and that family carers often perform the lion's share of care. Yet research offering a detailed account on their experiences of dementia care-sharing is sparse. In this paper, we respond to this knowledge gap by exploring how different social categories impact on practices of care-sharing in our participants and their families. Research design and methods: A qualitative study of six PwM who provide care for a family member with dementia was conducted through two methods: semi-structured, life-story interviews followed by “shadowing” our participants in their daily lives. We were guided by intersectionality as an analytical lens in exploring the multifaceted experiences of care-sharing. Findings: Throughout our analysis, intersections of migration history and social class stood out the most. We elucidate how they influence the attainment of necessary skills to organize and share care-tasks as well as perceptions of “good care.” Additionally, our findings illustrate how one's position within the family, the presence or absence of supportive social networks, religion, gendered care norms, and relationship to the care-recipient are relevant to experiences of care-sharing. Implications: Rather than overemphasizing ethnicity and culture, practice and policy should take into account that intersections of various social categories affect care-sharing and the type of support that is (or is not) organized.