Caring for older persons in rural and urban communities: perspectives of Ghanaian informal caregivers on their coping mechanisms

Williams AGYEMANG-DUAH, Alhassan ABDULLAH*, Charlotte Monica MENSAH, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Bright ADDAI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

Objective
Studies on informal caregiving for older persons in Ghana have only reported the challenges of the caregivers without providing their coping mechanisms. Considering the myriad of challenges facing informal caregivers in Ghana, we sought to explore the coping mechanisms utilised by informal caregivers in rural and urban settings of Ghana to overcome their caregiving challenges.

Methods
In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 purposively selected caregivers from the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality and Kumasi Metropolis in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The data were thematically analysed and common themes were reported as findings.

Results
Six key coping mechanisms were found; faith in God, support from friends and family, borrowing from friends, acceptance and encouragement, reducing expenditure on other activities, and taking time off.

Conclusion
The findings provide key strategies to policy-makers in the health sector to prevent the burnout of informal caregivers. Considerations from the coping mechanisms enumerated in the current study could guide the design and implementation of policies towards improving the informal healthcare sector in Ghana, which is crucial to the realisation of the United Nations’ health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Informal healthcare
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Caregiving
  • Older persons
  • Ghana

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