Metas de Enfermería

Metas de Enfermería

JUNIO 2007 N° 5 Volumen 10

Emotional experience of informal carers

Section: Ethics and Society

How to quote

Ruiz de Alegría Fernández de Retana B, de Lorenzo Urien E, Basurto Hoyuelos S. Experiencia emocional de las cuidadoras informales. Metas de Enferm jun 2007; 10(5): 9-14


1Begoña Ruiz de Alegría Fernández, 2Elena de Lorenzo Urien, 2Salomé Basurto Hoyuelos


1Diplomada en Enfermería. Licenciada en Antropología. Profesora de Fundamentos de Enfermería de la Escuela de Vitoria-Gasteiz.2 Diplomada en Enfermería. Escuela Universitaria de Enfermería de Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Contact address

Escuela Universitaria de Enfermería de Vitoria-Gasteiz. C/ José Achotegui, s/n. 01009 Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Contact email: vrprufeb@vc.ehu.es


Objective: to explore what women caring for their parents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s feel and think about their situation.
Methodology: qualitative measure through the evaluation of case reports. Data was generated by means of an in-depth consecutive interview. The six participants were women aged 45 to 55 who were selected through a theoretical selection of key informants. Emerging and inductive analytical dynamics were used and a categorical content analysis applied.
Results: women who took part in the study were socialised into collectivist and individualistic values and admitted to have felt sadness, guilt, rage, fear and anxiety at different times of the caring process. If sustained over time, these emotions could cause physical and emotional overload which participants perceived as suffocating. This situation was accompanied by manifestations such as insomnia, fatigue, back pain, anxiety or even anguish which may lead to the development of pathological conditions. Furthermore, these women expressed their feelings in their close circle of friends. Rage is not resolved properly when the triggering factor resides within the family unit. Guilt is hard to manage. Women can set limits without assuming their role as a sacrifice.
Conclusions: carers are subjected to an extenuating physical and emotional overload enhanced by counterpoised values derived from two socialisations: individualism and collectivism. In line with the results, professional interventions should take into account the cultural context of informal carers.


Family carers; emotions; life experience; Alzheimer; case studyin-depth interview

Versión en Español


Experiencia emocional de las cuidadoras informales