This study aimed to examine the experience and knowledge of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among Chinese family caregivers of individuals with MCI. The sample was recruited from memory clinics in Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used. Thirteen family members of individuals diagnosed with MCI participated in the study. Data analysis revealed three themes: 1) initial recognition of cognitive decline; 2) experience of the diagnosis of MCI; 3) perception of cognitive decline as a normal part of aging. While family members recognized the serious consequences of memory loss (e.g. getting lost), they would typically not take their family members to see a doctor until something specific triggered their access to the medical care system. The Chinese traditional perception of dementia as part of normal aging may serve to lessen the stigma of individuals with MCI, while the term "laonian chidai" which literally translates to "stupid, demented elderly" may exacerbate the stigma associated with individuals with MCI. It is suggested that family members' worries may be relieved by improving their access to accurate knowledge of the disease, community-based and institutional care services, and culturally appropriately words are needed for MCI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas