OBJECTIVE. Most occupational therapy interventions for caregivers are designed to reduce negative consequences of caregiving by building skills to manage problem behaviors and dependence. However, therapists may be missing an opportunity to provide interventions that directly help caregivers to emphasize and act on positive aspects of care. We describe care-related thinking and action processes of long-term caregivers who report positive effects related to caring for a spouse with dementia.

METHOD. We analyzed data from 15 experienced and uplifted (reporting improved well-being from caregiving) spouse caregivers to describe how they think about and carry out their care duties.

RESULTS. We describe two primary themes of caregiver thinking and action: (1) engaging in positive behaviors and (2) making adjustments in attitudes.

CONCLUSION. These findings support a new focus for occupational therapy caregiver intervention that promotes a positive approach to thinking about and enacting care tasks.

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