Exploring aging-related stress among older spousal caregivers

Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles, George Demiris, Debra Parker Oliver, Molly Burchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The goal of this study was to explore aging-related stress among older spousal caregivers providing hospice care for an older adult with cancer. Cases were selected from an ongoing randomized controlled trial that involved audiorecorded visits with caregivers over four different time points. Recordings consisted of caregivers discussing caregiving problems and ways they attempted to cope. Four caregiver cases comprising 16 audiorecordings were qualitatively analyzed for aging-related stress during caregiving. Caregiving stress primarily involved the patients' cognitive deficits. The caregiving experience also made older caregivers aware of their own aging and physical limitations, heightened self-imposed expectations to fulfill their role as spouse, and led them to consider their own mortality. This study informs development of caregiver interventions aimed at addressing the reciprocal challenge of caregiving and aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Gerontological Nursing
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2014


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