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Lama Assi, Varshini Varadaraj, Shang-En Chung, Ashley Deemer, David Roth, Bonnielin K Swenor; Characteristics of Those Caring for Older Adults with Vision Impairment. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):2657.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Older adults with vision impairment (VI) often require assistance with daily activities, but there is limited data on the individuals providing this care. Therefore, we examined the association between older adults’ VI status and their caregivers’ characteristics.
These analyses included data from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative survey of Medicare beneficiaries linked to the National Study of Caregiving, a survey of family and unpaid helpers. NHATS participants who received assistance with self-care, mobility, medical or household activities, and their caregivers were included. VI was defined as self-reported blindness or difficulty recognizing someone across the street, watching television or reading newspaper print. The caregiving outcome was defined as hours of care provided in the last month, categorized into quartiles (≤30, 31-65, 66-151 and ≥152 hours). Logistic regression adjusted for caregivers’ demographic/health characteristics, relationship to the older adult, and cohabiting status examined the association between VI and caregiver hours.
Of 1,196 caregivers, 281 assisted older adults with VI while 915 assisted older adults without VI. Those caring for older adults with VI were younger (54.9 [SD:0.70] vs 59.1 [SD:1.83] years, p=0.035). The proportion of adult children caregivers was higher in the VI group (56.9 vs 45.6%, p=0.006), while the proportion of caregivers who were spouses was higher in the non-VI group (35.6 vs 21.3%, p=0.006). Compared to caregivers of older adults without VI, caregivers of older adults with VI provided more hours of care per month (mean 155 vs 92 hours, p<0.001), and were more likely to report that caregiving affected activities like visiting friends (34.6 vs 14.9%, p<0.001), going out for enjoyment (27.3 vs. 10.5%, p<0.001), or attending religious services (15.6 vs. 8.2%, p=0.004), despite being more likely to use caregiving support services (24.7 vs 17.7%, p=0.029). In regression analyses, caregivers of adults with VI were more likely to be in the highest quartile (≥152) category of hours of care (OR=2.79, 95% CI:1.48-5.26; reference: ≤30 hours).
Caregivers of older adults with VI spend more time providing care and report greater caregiving-related impact on valued activities than caregivers of older adults without VI, indicating that their support needs may be different from other caregivers.
This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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