Objectives. As the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease increases, so does the effect on families and friends who assume caregiving responsibilities. Despite the proliferation of caregiving studies reported in the literature, little is known of the day-to-day management styles and preferences of caregivers. To develop, implement, and test interventions designed to sustain caregivers in their role, more information is needed about the caregiving experience. Results of a descriptive study are presented as a first step in understanding the complex process of choosing, organizing, and implementing everyday caregiving tasks.

Method. Subjects of the study were 26 persons who provide care for a spouse with moderate impairment from Alzheimer’s disease. Interview data were analyzed with grounded theory techniques to isolate the purposes behind the management decisions of spousal caregivers.

Conclusion. Implications are presented for occupational therapy intervention to assist caregivers in gaining the knowledge and skills necessary for effective and efficient management of problem behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

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