This study aimed to describe and compare urban and rural family caregivers' reactions to caring for a relative with dementia and to examine the associations between caregiving and socio-demographic factors.
Most studies on family caregivers' experiences caring for older people with dementia have been conducted in urban areas, and little is known about the experiences of family caregivers living in rural areas.
A cross-sectional study design was used.
A total of 102 caregivers (response rate 85%) from urban (n=57) and rural (n=46) areas completed the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA) Scale and demographic information. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics and linear regression models.
Overall, family caregivers reported high satisfaction even if they also reported high impact on finances and daily living. Rural caregivers experienced a higher negative impact on finances but reported more support from family members than urban caregivers. Age, gender and relationship were significantly associated with four of the five CRA subscales. Educational level and geographical setting were not associated with any of the CRA subscales.
The results of the study raise questions about the financial situation of older female caregivers and on the expectations of built-in family structures in urban and rural areas. Further studies focusing on the meaning and constitution of a family would help us to understand how these factors influence family caregiving both in rural and urban areas.
To provide person-centred care and to avoid stereotyped caregiving, a better picture of traditions in family caregiving can improve a more differentiated and appropriate professional caregiving pliable with the cultural context in which it is carried out.