Journal article

The Shift in Existential Life situation of Adult Children to Parents with Dementia Relocated to Nursing Homes


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Publication Details

Author list: Danielson, Ella;Høgsnes, Linda;Melin Johansson, Christina;Norbergh, Karl-Gustaf

Publication year: 2016

Start page: 122

End page: 130

Number of pages: 9

ISSN: 1874-4346





Previous research describes spouses and adult children of people with dementia as a homogeneous group using one term: family caregivers. Recent research shows that the needs and experiences of spouses and adult children differ, therefore they cannot be studied as a homogeneous group.


The aim of the study was to describe the shift in existential life situations of adult children of a parent with dementia relocated to nursing homes.


This is a qualitative study with an interpretive approach.


Face-to-face interviews were held with 11 adult children aged 48-65 years. The interviews lasted 30–60 minutes and data were analysed using interpretive content analysis.


The adult children described how they experienced their life situation before and after their parents’ relocation. Before relocation they described feelings of powerlessness, loneliness in their responsibilities, loss and guilt. After relocation they had feelings of freedom, ongoing responsibility, living with loss and having a new relationship with death.


The most important finding in our study was that adult children developed a different relationship with death than before the parent became affected by dementia. It is essential that healthcare staff understand and address the adult children’s existential life situations and the suffering they are experiencing. Healthcare staff need to be conscious about adult children’s needs for support to address their existential life situations before and after their parents relocate to nursing homes.


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