Dignity as a guiding principle for family care partners in the care of an old relative with dementia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: There is a growing number of older people (65+) with dementia, and many family care partners are involved in making help-seeking choices. The aim of this study was to reveal how family care partners with an old relative with dementia proceed in the name of dignity in their desire to secure the best care possible while still maintaining their own dignity. Methods: Data were collected in 2009–2010 in open semi-structured interviews and follow-up contacts with seven family care partners with an old relative with dementia on 14 occasions. From this collected data and for this study, a design based on patterns labelled archetypes was chosen to permit an in-depth data analysis. Results: In the analysis, three archetypes emerged, emanating from three specific family care partners. A prominent feature in the findings was that the dignity of an old relative with dementia was hard to separate from the dignity as a family care partner, which gave rise to their need to express accounts in terms of excuses and justifications. Conclusion: This study provides an important insight into the connection between different elements of dignity and it contributes to explain the complexity behind family care partners’ decisions in the care of an old relative with dementia. This multifaceted meaning of dignity needs more attention for a better understanding and thereby implementation in practice and in the follow-up of policy for older people.


External organisations
  • Linnaeus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • dementia, elder care, family care
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019 May 20
Publication categoryResearch