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Understanding the role, quality of life and strategies used by older carers of older people to maintain their own health and Well-Being: A national Australian survey

Lee, D-C.A., Burton, E., Slatyer, S., Jacinto, A., Oliveira, D., Bryant, C., Khushu, A., Tiller, E., Lalor, A., Watson, M., Layton, N., Brusco, N. and Hill, K.D. (2022) Understanding the role, quality of life and strategies used by older carers of older people to maintain their own health and Well-Being: A national Australian survey. Clinical Interventions in Aging, Volume 17 . pp. 1549-1567.

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Abstract

Introduction: Carers play a critical role in supporting older people with health problems to remain living at home. This study aimed to understand the role and quality of life of older carers of older people and identify strategies used to manage their own health and well-being.

Methods: Older carers (aged ≥ 50 years) of older people (aged ≥ 65 years) in Australia participated in a cross-sectional survey focused on carer roles, self-rated health, information and activities used to maintain their carer role and health, barriers to accessing health care, and assessment of quality of life (QoL) using the Dementia Quality of Life Scale for Older Family Carers. Multiple regression analysis examined relationships between variables and the QoL outcome.

Results: The survey was completed by 189 older carers (mean age: 68 years; SD = 9.3). Most were female (83.5%), 80.2% providing care daily and 47.8% provided ≥six hours care daily. Almost half (45.1%) self-reported their health as average or below. Despite rating ensuring personal health as very important (mean importance 8/10), only 46.3% reported receiving support from their general practitioner for their carer role. The most common barrier to accessing care for themselves was “not having enough time”. Factors independently associated with poorer carer QoL were living with the care-recipient, caring for someone with depression/anxiety and poor care-recipient health. Factors independently associated with higher carer QoL were placing high importance on personal health, receiving assistance from a specialist clinic as a carer, and older age.

Conclusion: Older carers of older people provide high levels of care and experience reduced quality of life. Innovative approaches that provide integrated care and support for older carers to promote their QoL are urgently needed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Healthy Ageing
Publisher: Dove Press
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/66489
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