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Alzheimer's, family, leisure



  1. Martin, Penny-Lynne MA


North American society is aging. As individuals age, they are often confronted with health issues that may affect their ability to interact with their families. One condition that affect family dynamics is senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type. The quality of leisure relationships between family members and a relative with Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be influenced by the stressors and burdens associated with the condition. A method of reducing stressors and burdens may be achieved through enhancing family leisure involvement. An examination of family leisure life cycle may help families examine and acquire new techniques in assisting them in maintaining a certain level of involvement, and/or providing them with new opportunities for family interaction with a relative who has Alzheimer's. The purpose of this study was to examine family leisure activities with a person with AD prior to and after being diagnosed with AD. To gain an understanding of family leisure experiences, the primary caregiver who is the son, the granddaughter, and a sibling of the person with Alzheimer's were interviewed. This investigation provided family members with an opportunity to describe in detail their family leisure experiences and perceptions. A semistructured, face-to-face audiotaped interview with the primary caregiver, the primary caregiver's child, and a sibling of the person with AD took place. The interview data were transcribed. Narrative analysis was used as the analytical technique to interpret the interview data since core narratives help to describe the true meaning of family leisure experiences as family members perceive them. This study indicates that each of the family members had differing leisure experiences on the basis of the age and stage of their participation in the leisure experience with the person with AD. The context of the leisure experience appears to change because of the person's role and stage within the lifespan. It is important to understand the context of the leisure experience across the lifespan of the persons involved in the study with the person with Alzheimer's. Professionals working with family members of persons with Alzheimer's need to understand why the activity took place, where it occurred, when it took place, and with whom when interviewing family members about the persons' leisure activities across the lifespan.