Aging and Caregiving: A Data-Driven Learning Guide
Goal & Concept
The goal of this exercise is to explore the characteristics and well-being of middle-aged caregivers. Frequencies, crosstabulation, and comparison of means will be used.
Today's middle-aged adults are often referred to as the "sandwich generation" because many will spend as much time caring for their aging parents as they did for their own children. As life expectancy rises and the elderly make up a larger proportion of the population, the need for care will also increase. However, caregiving is not exclusive to adult children and their aging parents. Other examples include parents caring for a disabled child or older adults caring for an ill spouse.
For this exercise, the definition of caregiving will be include care given to a friend or relative who requires assistance because of a physical or mental condition, illness, or disability. This excludes the normal care parents give children.
Researchers define well-being in many ways, including dimensions of physical, psychological, and social health. The well-being of caregivers is of interest because of the potential physical and emotional stress involved with caregiving, which may also carry over into other parts of the caregiver's life, such as his/her work. This exercise will focus on well-being as measured by life satisfaction, effects of family life on work, and marital/relationship problems.
Examples of possible research questions about caregiving and middle age:
- Who gives care?
- Who receives care?
- Which age groups are more likely to care for their parents?
- Are men and women equally likely to be caregivers?
- How does caregiving affect the well-being of caregivers?
- Are men and women affected by caregiving in similar or different ways?
- Do caregivers experience different levels of life satisfaction than those not giving care?
CITATION: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Aging and Caregiving: A Data-Driven Learning Guide. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-04-16. Doi:10.3886/agingcaregiving
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