Objective: In Europe, the demand for informal care is high and will increase because of the ageing population. Although caregiving is intended to contribute to the care recipient's health, its effects on the health of older European caregivers are not yet clear. This study explores the association between providing informal personal care and the caregivers' health. Method: Data were used from the longitudinal cohort (2004/2005-2010/2011) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) (n. = 7858). Generalized estimating equations were used to explore the longitudinal association of informal care and the caregiver's health using poor self-rated health (less than good), poor mental health (EURO-D score for depression ≥. 4), and poor physical health (≥. 2 health complaints). Results: Providing informal personal care was significantly associated with poor mental health (OR. = 1.23, 95% CI. = 1.04-1.47) and poor physical health (OR. = 1.18, 95% CI. = 1.01-1.38), after adjusting for various socio-demographic and health-related factors. No statistical significant association was found for self-rated health in the adjusted models. Conclusion: Providing informal personal care may negatively influence the caregiver's mental and physical health. More awareness of the beneficial and detrimental effects of caregiving among policy makers is needed to make well-informed decisions concerning the growth of care demands in the ageing population.

Caregivers, Elderly, Europe, Health, Health status, Informal care, Longitudinal studies, MeSH terms: Elderly, Patient care
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.10.028, hdl.handle.net/1765/91088
Preventive Medicine
Department of Public Health

Hiel, L, Beenackers, M.A, Renders, C.M, Robroek, S.J.W, Burdorf, A, & Croezen, S. (2015). Providing personal informal care to older European adults: Should we care about the caregivers' health?. Preventive Medicine, 70, 64–68. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.10.028