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Life satisfaction among informal caregivers in comparison with non-caregivers

Being a caregiver with responsibility for someone with reduced health compared with not being a caregiver may mean different views of life satisfaction. Knowledge of what leads to reduced life satisfaction in caregivers may be helpful in interventions. Informal caregivers gainfully employed or not, aged 50–89 years, were studied with regard to life satisfaction depending on the extent of caregiving to identify types of social support of value for caregivers. A cross-sectional study was conducted including a sample of 151 informal caregivers with a high caregiving extent, 392 caregivers with a lower caregiving extent and 1258 non-caregivers. The sample was randomly selected to correspond with older Swedes as a whole aged 50–89 years. A questionnaire containing a modified form of Older Americans’ Resources Schedule (OARS) and Life Satisfaction Index Z (LSIZ) was used; 19.6% helped someone with activities of daily living and of these 27% stated that they did so frequently. Frequent caregiving implied significantly higher age, being more often married and retired, than less frequent caregivers and non-caregivers. Frequent caregivers also performed personal activities of daily living (PADL) to a higher extent than less frequent caregivers and had significantly lower LSIZ (mean 14.8) than less frequent caregivers (mean 17.6) and non-caregivers (mean 17.7). No significant differences were found between less frequent caregivers and non-caregivers in LSIZ. One-fourth had support from others, the commonest type being able to converse with a next of kin, and help and advice from professionals. Lower life satisfaction was associated with not being employed, low social resources, not refreshed after a night's sleep, overall poor health and frequent caregiving in the entire sample. High caregiving extent was associated with lower life satisfaction. The most important factors explaining lower life satisfaction among frequent caregivers were having low social resources and having poor health. Economic compensation or payment was the support most desired.

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Additional Titles
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences

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0283-9318, 0283-9318
Resource Database
British nursing index bni - exported on 8/7/2016
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