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Abstract

Thailand is one of many countries experiencing changes in the demographics of its population. People are living longer and having fewer children resulting in an increasing percentage of older adults in the general population. This presents a challenge in providing care for older adults, especially in countries where there is a culture of family caregiving. This study aims to investigate the experience of family caregivers, exploring the problems of caring for older people with physical disabilities and the needs of family caregivers. This is done to better understand ways to support caregivers. Using a descriptive qualitative approach, 15 family caregivers were enrolled who provide care to older adults with physical disabilities in a rural community in Northern Thailand. The interviews were conducted face-to-face and were analyzed by thematic analysis. Findings showed two main categories from the data: problem areas and needs. The “problem area” themes are low-income households, management of activities of daily living, and access to resources. The “needs” themes are home modifications and adaptive equipment and development of a support system. The identified themes provide guidance for long term care, home adaptation, and assistive products. Future research can be done into the impact of these interventions.

Keywords

caregiver burden, descriptive qualitative research, older people, physical disability, rural

Author Bio(s)

Two researchers, one American and two Thai, are interested in research focused on older adults with physical disabilities in rural communities. All three developed the research proposal and method. Denis Tuttle, the first author, was a receipt of a Fulbright scholarship; he graduated with a master’s degree in occupational therapy from the Department of Rehabilitation Science, University at Buffalo, New York and has experience with research methods, including qualitative research methods. He wrote the original draft, collected and analyzed the data, and revised the manuscript.

Jiranan Griffiths is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University. She graduated with a doctorate in community medicine from the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University. She has experience with research methods, including qualitative research methods. She conducted interviews, collected and analyzed the data, and revised the manuscript.

Anuchart Kaunnil (Corresponding Author) is a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. He graduated with a doctorate in occupational therapy from Northumbria University, United Kingdom. He is the manuscript’s corresponding author. He conducted interviews, collected and analyzed the data, and revised the manuscript. Please direct correspondence to anuchart.kau@cmu.ac.th

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to all study participants for opening up to us and sharing their experiences and their homes. We would also like to thank the staff at OnTai Health Promotion Hospital and the health volunteers in the OnTai community. Denis Tuttle would like to thank the Thailand-United States Education Foundation and Fulbright for this opportunity.

Publication Date

2-23-2023

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

DOI

10.46743/2160-3715/2023.5785

ORCID ID

0000-0002-8178-6513

ResearcherID

B-1818-2016

 
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