1. Singleton, Jerome F. PhD, CTRS

Article Content

North America is aging. It is predicted that by 2020 approximately 20% of North Americans will be older than 65. This demographic shift in society will have an impact on the social and economic structure of North America. Individuals in this population will be confronted with a variety of issues that may impact on their health and well-being from acquiring a disability to economic limitations due to changing pension plans. This demographic shift is not occurring in isolation, as older individuals are part of a family support structure. When an individual becomes ill, a family member will often provide caregiving to the person. The question arises as to what information rehabilitation professional will need to assist caregivers of an older person.


The purpose of this issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation is to provide insights into how caregiving affects leisure opportunities for caregivers. One area of caregivers' lives that is sacrificed is their social and leisure pursuits. Because of the unrelenting demands placed upon caregivers, their level of participation in leisure pursuits often declines. Leisure has been highlighted as playing an important role in the development and maintenance of family ties and relationships. Therefore, with leisure not being present in the family unit, relationships between family members may become strained. A lack of leisure can further add to the stress the family members experience as a result of their relative's illness. The family, and especially the primary caregiver, may reach a point where an alternative means of care for the relative is sought. It may be decided by the family to place the relative in a nursing home. Since many individuals often view nursing homes negatively, placing a relative in a home can be difficult for families to accept.


The authors in this issue provide insights into the role and function of persons who are caregivers and the effect on their leisure opportunities. Loucks-Atkinson, Kleiber, and Williamson's article, "Activity restriction and well-being in middle-aged and older caregivers," illustrates the complexities of how caregiving impacts activity participation. Stadnyk's findings from her study, "Community-dwelling spouses of nursing home residents: Activities that sustain identities in times of transition," describes how activities can assist caregivers. MacDonald's article, "Family and staff perceptions of the impact of the long-term care environment on leisure," describes how the environment influences perceptions of abilities within the Bronfenbrenner Ecological model. Martin's article explores the complexities of "Family's leisure experiences and leisure adjustments made with a person with Alzheimer's." This article describes how a person with Alzheimer's affects one family's leisure. Bedini and Gladwell's article, "Barriers to leisure travel of family caregivers: A preliminary examination," describes how being a caregiver affects the cargiver's ability to travel. Charters and Murray's article, "Design and evaluation of a leisure education program for caregivers of institutionalized care recipients," illustrates the role leisure education can play in enhancing the well-being of caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's in long-term care. Genoe and Singleton's article, "Older men's leisure experiences across their lifespan," places older men's leisure within a hegemonic masculinity framework. The older men's leisure opportunities in this study were framed within the dominant societal context of when they entered lifecourse transitions.


The information in this issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation provides rehabilitation professionals with information framed within the context of the caregiver's experience. Rehabilitation is not just about the person with a disability but encompasses the family. This issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation provides insights into how the caregiving role may affect leisure opportunities for not only the caregiver but also other family members.


Jerome F. Singleton, PhD, CTRS


Professor, Leisure Studies School of Health and Human Performance Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada