In this article, we use the capability approach and Nussbaum’s list of essential capabilities to understand the experiences of people providing (informal) care for older people. Nussbaum’s ten essential capabilities were used as a template to analyse contributions to an online forum created for the research. The carers’ posts indicated they valued these capabilities, though, in some instances, struggled to achieve them in the context of providing care. The capability approach provided a useful framework to move beyond caring as beneficial or burdensome, to view care as valued and as influencing other capabilities among carers for older people.
Informal care evolves from an existing relationship with the care recipient. This study aims to understand the relational nature of such care. Six participants caring for a spouse or parent chose their own methods of data collection, including keeping a journal, telephone interviews or face-to-face interviews. Participants drew on personal narratives to reveal different identities, which included a guardian, a partner, a coper, and a campaigner on behalf of the person receiving care. These findings demonstrate how providing good care is part of each carer’s relational identity. Acknowledging the relational nature of care will enable better support for carers.
This study represents the experiences of informal carers of people with dementia concerning periods of transition into formal care. Retrospective interviews with 18 carers identified the key narratives: ‘This is why I had to’, ‘They said I need to’ and ‘It was a last resort’. These indicate a sense of carers’ responsibility in decision making and the undesirable assumptions around the move. However, the narrative of ‘I made the right decision’ was common after transition. Findings represent the nuanced carer experience around transitions, providing insight into the experiences of families living with dementia and informing future care planning.
Sleep has been recognised as compromised in dementia care. This study aims to represent the experiences and needs of informal carers via sleep-related accounts. Retrospective interviews were conducted with 20 carers concerning sleep changes across the trajectory of dementia care. Key interactive narratives were around: ‘sleep as my sacrifice’; tensions between identities of being a ‘sleeper’ versus ‘guardian’; and ‘sleep as a luxury’. Maintaining healthy sleep and preferable sleep practices is challenging while balancing the responsibilities of dementia-related care. Acknowledging sleep as a sociological practice enables a greater understanding of carers’ nuanced experience and support needs.