PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the experience of adult Korean children who are caregivers for parents institutionalized with dementia. METHODS: Participants were fourteen adult children caregivers of elders institutionalized with dementia. Data were collected through in-depth unstructured interviews with individual participants from August to November, 2012. Theoretical sampling was used to the point of theoretical saturation. Data were analyzed using Strauss and Corbin's Grounded Theory Method. RESULTS: From open coding, 67 concepts, 29 sub-categories, and 14 categories were identified. Analysis revealed that the core category of the experience of adult children caring for their parents institutionalized with dementia was 'enduring the role of a prop' consisting of four phases: initial turmoil, exploration, role adjustment, and acclimation. To manage the role of a prop, participants utilized various action/interactional strategies such as overcoming the unfamiliarity, overseeing the nursing home care, and counterbalancing the caring roles. As a result, participants experienced ambivalence towards the existence of parents with dementia, changes in family relationships, altered viewpoint towards nursing homes, and restructuring of life. CONCLUSION: In-depth understanding of the experience will guide nurses to promote effective interventions in order to better support the Korean family caregivers of parents institutionalized with dementia.