With an ageing population it’s inevitable that many of us will rely on others for our care when we can no longer look after ourselves. But as caring can be a physically and emotionally demanding role, who takes care of the carer?

Griffith University PhD candidate Jenny Murfield, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Menzies Health Institute Queensland, is developing a self-compassion intervention specifically for family carers of older adults which she hopes will go some way to answering this question.

“There are more community dwelling older adults than ever before who are care-dependent and require some aspect of long-term care support. We know most of this care is provided by an informal and unpaid network of family members, friends and neighbours,” she said.

“These carers undertake a range of ongoing activities to support the older adult physically, emotionally and practically. And while offering many positive and rewarding experiences it can often pose challenges and lead to feelings of stress.”

She said while self-compassion interventions had shown to be a helpful form of stress-management for many populations, there was limited knowledge about self-compassion for family carers of older adults.

“Our study aims to explore how self-compassion might be used to support the emotional health needs of people caring for older family members.”

The researchers are looking for people to take part in the study. Find out more