Eldercare: The Impact of Family Caregivers' Employment on Formal and Informal Helper Hours


The 1989 National Long Term Care Survey is the first nationally representative survey to collect data on weekly hours of assistance received by ADL and/or IADL disabled elders living in the community by individual caregivers, both formal and informal. Thus, it is now possible to investigate the effects of primary caregivers' employment status on the amount of help that disabled elders receive, while simultaneously controlling for disability status and other potentially confounding variables. Under an ASPE task order contract, Mary Elizabeth Jackson of the MEDSTAT Group carried out a series of regression analyses, using, as the dependent variables, four different measures of hours of care: hours provided by the primary informal caregiver, hours from all unpaid sources other than the primary caregiver, hours from paid caregivers, and total hours of care received by care recipients from both paid and unpaid caregivers. Primary caregivers who are employed were found to provide significantly fewer hours of help personally (7.6) than primary caregivers not in the labor force. However, there were no significant differences in the total hours of help received by care recipients associated with the employment status of their primary caregivers except for part time employees. That is, care recipients of part time employed caregivers received significantly fewer total hours of care (8.4) than other caregivers (including both full time employees and those not in the labor force). For care recipients of full time workers, the lower number of hours that the employed caregivers personally provided was made up by comparatively greater use of a combination of other informal and paid help. The same was not true for part time employed caregivers. (ASPE Research Notes, Volume 14) [6 PDF pages]

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