Understanding family interaction patterns in families with Alzheimer's disease

Patricia Schaber, Kate Blair, Ellen Jost, Molly Schaffer, Emily Thurner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This qualitative study explores the dynamic changes that occur in family interaction patterns when Alzheimer's disease is present. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 participants who have a family member with the disease. Using modified analytic induction, guided by the dimensions of the Family Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) Model, participants shared how Alzheimer's disease affected family structure, control dynamics, and intimacy among family members. Findings demonstrate that (a) families reorganize and restructure based on geographic proximity and shifting roles, act out of filial responsibility, and strive to preserve shared meanings and rituals; (b) decision making increases around care of the person with Alzheimer's disease and shifts to the primary caregiver or other family members based on their abilities; and (c) expressions of intimacy intensify while personality is preserved in the person with the disease. The Family FIRO model can inform practitioners using family-centered care with families with Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalOTJR Occupation, Participation and Health
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Family firo model
  • Family interaction

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