Examining the impact on adult children caring for elderly parents with mental illness

Examining the impact on adult children caring for elderly parents with mental illness
13th International Mental Health Conference
Caring for elderly parents with mental illness

It was hypothesized that the children of elderly parents with a long-standing mental illness have differing needs when faced with the caring role compared to first-time carers of elderly mentally ill parents.

This research contrasts the experiences of long-term carers of elderly parents who have had a long-standing mental illness and first-time carers of parents who have become mentally unwell or in need of care in older age.

Using a qualitative research methodology and interpretive perspective, eight carers were interviewed using a standardised questionnaire from which salient issues were drawn and analysed.

Long term carers faced issues including a longer duration of care-giver stress, early entry into adult responsibilities of caring, frustrations concerning lack of recognition from mental health services and cumulative stress affecting long-term carer’s significant relationships and own health.

First-time carers sought earlier access to mental health services, specialist information about mental health issues and coping strategies for the care giving role. All carers were able to identify ways to improve support to children caring for ageing mentally ill parents.

Both sets of carers , irrespective of the duration of their sharing experiences, shared complex and competing demands on their physical and emotional resources.

Prof Kuruvilla George, Director of Aged Persons Mental Health and Director of Medical Services, Peter James Centre and Wantirna Health, Eastern Health will present at the:

13th International Mental Health Conference
, "Positive Change -- Investing in Mental Health"  6th to the 8th of August 2012, on the Gold Coast.

Web: https://dev3.anzmh.asn.au/conference Email: conference@anzmh.asn.au

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