Meaning Making in Dementia Caregiving
among Adult Children in Hong Kong:
Tasting a Generation Model 

©2021 by Sau Po Centre on Ageing.

Funding: General Research Fund (Project No. [17613218])

Image by Pawel Czerwinski

Abstract

Family caregiving plays a significant role in enabling older adults to stay as long as possible in their familiar community. This concept, known as Aging-In-Place, is preferred by older adults worldwide and is advocated by government policies. According to the latest statistics, adult children account for the largest proportion of family caregivers in Hong Kong, and the demand for family caregivers is expected to escalate in the coming years. Dementia family caregivers are continuously challenged by care demands that are often highly variable and unpredictable, putting them at risk for adverse effects on both physical and mental well-being. Concurrently, adult children often have their own developmental needs including career development, family responsibility, and social networking. The Meaning Making model suggests that people are instinctively searching for meaning, in particular after encountering a life challenge and/or stressful condition. Research has shown that taking care of parents with dementia in Hong Kong is associated with “making meaning” on affirming self and enriching life. The proposed study furthers this knowledge by testing hypotheses based on a generation model for meaning making in dementia caregiving. The Baby Boomer Generation and Generation X have differences in their shared global meaning, which may have implications on their situational meaning making processes and ultimate adjustment. As members of the Baby Boomer Generation age and their children, members of Generation X, are becoming their caregivers, we propose a longitudinal survey of 760 adult child dementia caregivers. It aims to 1) investigate differences of meaning making in dementia caregiving between the Baby Boomer Generation and Generation X and 2) test the hypothesized relationship between meaning making in dementia caregiving, meaning made, and well-being indicators between and within the two generations. The longitudinal survey will inform the ongoing discussion amongst researchers, policymakers, and service providers on the need to crystallize different needs amongst generations and to generate dementia-related policies and services that are sensitive to the characteristics and needs of specific generations.

Research Team

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Dr Lou, Vivian Weiqun

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration

Director, Sau Po Centre on Ageing,

The University of Hong Kong

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Prof Chong, Ming Lin Alice

Co-Investigator

Professor

City University of Hong Kong

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Prof Chou, Kee Lee

Co-Investigator

Chair Professor of Social Policy,

Department of Asian and Policy Studies

The Education University of Hong Kong

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Prof Lai, Wing Leung Daniel

Co-Investigator

Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences

Chair Professor of Social Work

Hong Kong Baptist University

Daniel Wong.jpg

Prof Wong, Daniel Fu Keung

Co-Investigator

Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration

The University of Hong Kong

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Dr Yang, Lu Frances

Co-Investigator

Post-doctoral Fellow

Sau Po Centre on Ageing

The University of Hong Kong

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Prof Yu, Doris Sau Fung

Co-Investigator

Professor, School of Nursing

The University of Hong Kong

Policy Implications

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Publications

  1. Lou, V. W. Q., Lai, D. W. L., Wong, D. F.-K., Yu, D., Chen, S., & Leung, R. (2020, October 26-30). The Generational Impact on Meaning Making and Well-being of Adult Children Caregivers in Dementia Caregiving. Innovation in Aging, 4(Supplement_1), 908–908. https://doi.org/10.1093/geroni/igaa057.3341. In the GSA 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting.

  2. Lou, V. W. Q. (2020, November 28). Making meaning on dementia caregiving: A generational perspective [Plenary session]. 27th Annual Congress of Gerontology. Hong Kong Association of Gerontology. Hong Kong. Presentation material

  3. Chen, S., & authors (2020) Making sense of work-life-care balance and well-being among dementia caregivers during the period of pandemic: An application of ecological momentary assessment using digital device. U21 Undergraduate Collborative Research Award 2020. https://universitas21.com/get-involved/researcher-opportunities/funding-awards/graduate-collaborative-research-awards-funded

  4. Chen, S., Liu, H., & Lou, V. W. Q.* (2022) Monitoring daily well-being and meaning-making tendencies among adult child working dementia caregivers: optimization, feasibility and ecological validity of a protocol using experience sampling method on digital devices [Manuscript submitted for publication].

  5. Chen, S., Lou, V. W. Q.*, Yu, D. S. F., & Leung, R. (2022) Meaning-Making of Dementia Caregiving: a systematic review of qualitative studies [Manuscript submitted for publication].