Caregiving factors may affect hospitalization risk among disabled older adults

Few studies have investigated the potential impact of caregivers and caregiver factors on older adults’ likelihood of being hospitalized. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has now provided some insights.

The study included 2,589 community-living Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years and older who were disabled and were receiving help from family members or other unpaid caregivers. Thirty-eight percent of the older adults were hospitalized within one year after being interviewed.

Older adults had an increased risk of hospitalization if they had a primary caregiver who helped with healthcare tasks, reported physical strain, and provided more than 40 hours of care weekly. Having a caregiver who had helped for at least 4 years was associated with a lower risk of hospitalization. These caregiving factors were associated with hospitalization risk regardless of whether older adults had dementia.

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