Experiences of reciprocal caring among adults with an intellectual disability caring for an older family member

Truesdale, M. , Taggart, L., Ryan, A. and McConkey, R. (2021) Experiences of reciprocal caring among adults with an intellectual disability caring for an older family member. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 18(3), pp. 240-248. (doi: 10.1111/jppi.12380)

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Background: Internationally, many children and adults with intellectual disabilities are continually being supported by their family members to live within their family home. However, as a consequence of the ageing process some family members can struggle to continue to care because of their failing physical and/or mental ill‐health. This has resulted in a shift in the parameters of the relationship for some adults with intellectual disabilities with their formerly dependent role evolving into a caregiving one. This had become known as “reciprocity” or “mutual support.” Limited information exists about these “hidden carers” and what services are available to support them. Aim: This article explored the lived experiences of nine adults with intellectual disabilities who provided emotional and tangible support to an ageing family member. Method: A qualitative methodology was employed using semi‐structured interviews. Nine participants with mild‐to‐moderate intellectual disabilities were interviewed within one region of the United Kingdom. The interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings: Five themes emerged within these narrative accounts: natural transition to caring; the health needs of the ageing family member; support; impact of caregiving and future planning. Discussion: The needs of these unknown hidden carers, and also ageing family members, are immediate and urgent. Policy makers, commissioners and service providers need to examine the type of “in‐house” support provided to these new carers if they are to continue living within their family home with their ageing family member, who will also need additional support. Neglecting both cohorts will lead to greater costs to services in the longer term and seriously threaten the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and their family carers.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Truesdale, Dr Maria
Authors: Truesdale, M., Taggart, L., Ryan, A., and McConkey, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
ISSN (Online):1741-1130
Published Online:30 March 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities 18(3): 240-248
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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