Examination of the healthy caregiver effect among older adults: findings from the Canadian longitudinal study on aging
older caregiver, functional health, chronic illness, perceived health, Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging
Introduction: The Healthy Caregiver Hypothesis (HCH) suggests that caregiving is associated with beneficial health impacts for family caregivers. However, mixed results have been reported, particularly when different levels of caregiving intensity were examined. This study analyzes the relationship between caregiving intensity and three health indicators (functional health, chronic illness, and self-rated general health) among Canadian older adults over 3 years. Methods: We drew upon a subsample of 11,344 participants aged 65 years and older from the Baseline and Follow-up 1 data of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and used linear mixed models to test the hypothesis based on different levels of caregiving intensity. Results: Older adults who provided low-intensity care recently or continuously reported better functional health and self-rated health than noncaregivers. In contrast, older adults with low-intensity caregiving responsibility reported more chronic conditions over time compared to noncaregivers, but this association was not found for high-intensity caregivers. Discussion/Conclusion: This study elucidates the HCH by incorporating caregiving intensity to understand patterns of better functional health and perceived health but more chronic conditions. The findings yielded from different health indicators suggest the impact of caregiving on health may be domain specific.
Lun Li, Andrew Victor Wister, Barbara A. Mitchell; Examination of the Healthy Caregiver Effect among Older Adults: Findings from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Gerontology 2 March 2023; 69 (3): 289–300. https://doi.org/10.1159/000526251
All Rights Reserved