Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rajean Moone


Social Work


By 2030, it is expected that older adults will account for one out of every five Americans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). With older adults living longer, and living with chronic illnesses and cognitive impairments, comes a greater demand for caregivers and services to support those in this role. The stress of caregiving, including its negative impact on physical, social and mental well-being, is well documented in the literature (Toseland, 1990). Formal services to support the caregiver and address the negative effects are widely available. Fewer studies have examined the need for services following the loss of the caregiving role. This study explored the need for and availability of support services as caregivers transition from an active caregiving role to life after the loss of this role. Through semi-structured interviews of nine professionals from agencies providing federally-funded caregiver support programs and services several themes emerged. The themes related to Caregivers were: identifying as a caregiver and transitioning out of that role, importance of addressing physical and mental health needs and focusing on the strengths of caregivers. In addition, value of planning for the future, linkage to and acceptance of support, time of transition, and urgency and innovation were themes that emerged related to support services. The findings indicate a need for and the value of increased support services for caregivers after the loss of the caregiving role. Implications for social work practice, policy and research are also highlighted.

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