Screen Readers Skip to Content

Caregiving by Family Members and Other Unpaid Individuals

Published: 2017-06-15 - Updated: 2021-03-13
Author: American Geriatrics Society | Contact: americangeriatrics.org

Synopsis: Researchers examine characteristics of unpaid caregivers and note health-related tasks caregivers provided, and how caregiving affected care providers. The more healthcare tasks caregivers provided, the higher their risk for burden and for decreasing their involvement in social activities. The researchers also suggested that it is also essential that we explore and implement strategies that support caregivers.

Main Digest

It's estimated that nearly 30 percent of the 38.2 million people aged 65 or older in this country receive some form of caregiving, either for health reasons or to help manage daily activities. More than 65 percent of these older individuals rely on family members, friends, and even neighbors for assistance with things like preparing meals, bathing, taking medications, and getting transportation.

Related

Caregiving is a significant public health topic because it affects the health and well-being of both the older adult and his or her caregivers.

Recently, a team of researchers examined the various characteristics of people who serve as unpaid caregivers. They also estimated how many people serve in this capacity. The researchers took note of the health-related tasks the caregivers provided, as well as how caregiving affected care providers. The researchers published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Using information from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and National Study of Caregiving, the researchers reported that:

Ways Caregivers Described Experiences
How caregiving affected caregivers Caregivers for seniors without dementia or disability Caregivers for seniors with dementia but no disability
Reported symptoms of depression or anxiety 10% 19%
Rated their (caregiver's) health as fair or poor Nearly 20% Approximately 25%
Reported caregiver burden (experienced as physical, emotional or financial hardships) Nearly 50% Approximately 66%
Dedicated significant time to caring for an older adult 12 hours per week 30 hours per week

Caregivers helped with a wide range of tasks, said the researchers.

They not only helped with household chores like shopping, housekeeping, and transportation but also with many health-related activities, such as making doctor appointments, ordering medicines, and assisting with diet and dental care.

The more healthcare tasks caregivers provided, the higher their risk for burden and for decreasing their involvement in social activities.

According to the researchers, although most caregivers who assisted with health-related care experienced caregiver burden, only a small minority used support services, including caregiver training, respite care, and support groups. These findings suggest the importance of evaluating the needs and capabilities of all caregivers assisting older adults, not just those who are typically thought of as high-risk. The researchers also suggested that it is also essential that we explore and implement strategies that support caregivers.

The study authors are: Catherine Riffin, PhD; Peter H. Van Ness, PhD, MPH; Jennifer L. Wolff, PhD; and Terri Fried, MD.

This summary is from "Family and Other Unpaid Caregivers and Older Adults with and without Dementia and Disability."

Primary Information Source(s):

Caregiving by Family Members and Other Unpaid Individuals | American Geriatrics Society (americangeriatrics.org). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

In Other News:

You're reading Disabled World. See our homepage for informative disability news, reviews, sports, stories and how-tos. You can also connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.


Cite This Page (APA): American Geriatrics Society. (2017, June 15). Caregiving by Family Members and Other Unpaid Individuals. Disabled World. Retrieved September 21, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/caregivers/ags.php