Background: Access to social support contributes to feelings of independence and better social health. This qualitative study aims to investigate multi-informant perspectives on informal social support in dementia care networks.
Methods: Ten spousal caregivers of people with dementia (PwD) completed an ecogram, a social network card and a semi-structured interview. The ecogram aimed to trigger subjective experiences regarding social support. Subsequently, 17 network members were interviewed. The qualitative analyses identified codes, categories, and themes.
Results: Sixth themes emerged: (1) barriers to ask for support; (2) facilitators to ask for support; (3) barriers to offer support; (4) facilitators to offer support; (5) a mismatch between supply and demand of social support; and (6) openness in communication to repair the imbalance.
Discussion: Integrating social network perspectives resulted in a novel model identifying a mismatch between the supply and demand of social support, strengthened by a cognitive bias: caregivers reported to think for other social network members and vice versa. Openness in communication in formal and informal care systems might repair this mismatch.
- informal caregiver
- support-seeking behavior
- network perspectives
- qualitative interviews