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“There isn't an easy way of finding the help that's available.” Barriers and facilitators of service use among dementia family caregivers: a qualitative study

  • Ashley Macleod (a1), Gemma Tatangelo (a1), Marita McCabe (a1) and Emily You (a2)

Family caregivers of people with dementia have significant unmet needs in regard to their caregiving role. Despite this, they are reluctant to utilize services to reduce their burden. The aim of this study was to examine the barriers and facilitators of service use among family caregivers of people with dementia.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 family caregivers of community-dwelling people with dementia. Of these, 12 were partner caregivers (4 men, 8 women) and 12 were offspring caregivers (2 men, 10 women). The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis.


Six main barriers and three facilitators were identified. These barriers and facilitators were relevant across many types of services and supports. The barriers were: the inability to find information about relevant services or support, the poor quality or mistrust of the services, the inflexibility of services, caregivers’ beliefs about their obligations to the caregiving role and resistance by the care recipient. Key facilitators were: having good communication with the care recipient, having an “expert” point of contact, and having beliefs about the caregiving role that enabled the use of services.


Given the significant changes in the aged care service-system, it is important to discuss the barriers faced by family caregivers of people with dementia. This will inform the development of targeted strategies to address the lack of service use among these family caregivers.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Ashley Macleod, Institute for Health and Ageing, Level 6, 215 Spring Street, Melbourne 3000 Australia. Phone: +61 3 9230 8103. Email:
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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
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