BACKGROUND: Older people have various physical and mental health needs and often receive help from their family members to perform their daily life activities. This research aimed to explore the meaning of respect for older people in family relationships.
METHODS: A qualitative study using a content analysis approach was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were performed with sixteen older people and four family members.
RESULTS: Three main categories were developed: "respect for personal interests", "kind and sincere respect" and "respect for autonomy". Understanding of the meaning of respect for older people was influenced by special expectations from family members in terms of meeting personal needs, consideration of preferences and interests and empowerment and support to help preserve older people's independence and autonomy.
CONCLUSIONS: Family members should be informed and educated with regard to their expected roles in family relationships, and should consider respect as an important factor affecting older people's well-being.