184540 Concepts of burden in giving care to older relatives: A study of female caregivers in a Mexico City neighborhood

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 3:10 PM

Carolyn A. Mendez-Luck, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health; Center for Health Improvement in Minority Elders/Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
David P. Kennedy, PhD , RAND, Santa Monica, CA
Steven P. Wallace, PhD , School of Public Health, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Throughout the world, unpaid care work has predominantly been seen as a woman's responsibility, including in Mexico. The Mexican literature on women's occupations in the private domain suggest that individuals are socialized into roles that define caregiving as a woman's responsibility. However, little is known about elder caregiving in Mexico and the role of women in this process. This study was undertaken as a small but important first step in filling this knowledge gap. One purpose of the study was to describe how women in a Mexico City neighborhood viewed the concept of burden as it related to caring for older family members. Data were collected on forty-one women through semi-structured interviews regarding their caregiving experiences with elderly relatives. Results showed that burden was a multi-dimensional construct that referred to specific situations that made caregivers feel emotionally or physical “heavy.” Burden also referred to “being a burden” by being in the way, making things difficult, or being a ‘weight' on caregivers' shoulders. However, caregivers also viewed burden as a positive sacrifice that involved goodwill and love. Our findings offer an additional dimension of caregiver burden to broaden our understanding and measurement of the construct. Development of culturally appropriate instruments to measure caregiver burden in Mexico is necessary to provide an empirical foundation for policy recommendations that address the growing need for institutional support of caregivers. Our findings suggest that researchers studying caregiving in Mexico should think about how burden is measured on existing instruments before adapting them for widespread use.

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to 1) identify two conceptualizations of burden, and 2) describe negative and positive features of burden.

Keywords: Caregivers, International

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal investigator of the study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.