Background and Objectives: Informal caregiving to older adults is a key part of the U.S. long-term care system. Caregivers' experiences consist of burden and benefits, but traditional analytic approaches typically consider dimensions independently, or cannot account for burden and benefit levels and combinations that co-occur. This study explores how benefits and burden simultaneously shape experiences of caregiving to older adults, and factors associated with experience types. Research Design and Methods: 2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and National Study of Caregiving (NSOC) data were linked to obtain reports from caregivers and recipients. Latent class and regression analysis were conducted on a nationally representative sample of U.S. informal caregivers to older persons. Results: Five distinguishable caregiving experiences types and their population prevalence were identified. Subjective burden and benefits level and combination uniquely characterize each group. Primary stressors (recipient depression, medical diagnoses), primary appraisal (activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, medical task assistance, hours caregiving), and background/contextual factors (caregiver age, race, relationship to recipient, mental health, coresidence, long-term caregiving) are associated with experience types. Discussion and Implications: Findings highlight caregivers' experience multiplicity and ambivalence, and identify groups that may benefit most from support services. In cases where it is not possible to reduce burden, assistance programs may focus on increasing the benefits perceptions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology