Poll: More seniors relying on relatives for care

The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio

CINCINNATI — The 2016 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP), sponsored by Interact for Health, found that half of Ohio adults (51 percent) have provided unpaid help in the last year to an older relative or friend who was age 60 or older.

“Older adults are the fastest growing segment of Ohio’s population,” says Christine Mulvin, program officer, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, which partnered with Interact for Health on this portion of the Poll. “As older adults are living longer, more of them are relying on the support of family members to help them remain in their homes.”

Men and women were equally likely to have provided unpaid help. “But caregiving did vary by age and income,” says Jennifer Chubinski, Ph.D., vice president, Innovation and Learning, Interact for Health. Ohioans ages 46 to 64 (61 percent) were more likely than Ohioans of other ages to report providing unpaid care.

“Higher income adults were more likely to provide unpaid care,” says Chubinski. “Forty percent of adults earning 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or less provided unpaid care, compared to 58 percent of adults earning more than 138 percent FPL.”

Most care for relatives

Most caregivers (75 percent) provided care to a parent or parent-in-law or to another relative such as a spouse, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle. Four in 10 Ohio caregivers reported caring for someone ages 60 to 74 (40 percent). Three in 10 cared for someone ages 75 to 84 (34 percent), and 2 in 10 cared for someone ages 85 or older (24 percent). Ohioans ages 46 and older were more likely to be taking care of the oldest group. Three in 10 caregivers age 46 or older (33 percent) reported that they gave care to a relative or friend age 85 or older.

Hours of help provided

Most family caregivers in Ohio provided one to eight hours of care per week. Women were more likely than men to provide nine or more hours of care per week.

More than 6 in 10 Ohio family caregivers (64 percent) lived in the same household or less than 20 minutes away from the adult they helped. Two in 10 lived 20 minutes to one hour away.

Balancing act

Ohio’s family caregivers must balance their own jobs and families with the unpaid care they provide. Six in 10 Ohio family caregivers (61 percent) work full or part time. More than 3 in 10 family caregivers (36 percent) have children younger than 18 living in their household.

Types of help provided

Most Ohio family caregivers helped with daily activities like running errands, doing housework and providing transportation, among other activities. Ohio’s family caregivers most often reported helping:

• with food and meals, including grocery shopping and preparing meals

• around the house, including home chores, yard work, home repairs or maintenance or running errands

• with transportation, including driving the older adult to an appointment or to shop or run an errand.

Men most often said they helped around the house. Women most often said they helped with food and meals. Ohio adults also reported helping with finances and paying bills, company and emotional support and assistance with self-care.

“These results help us determine the issues that the fastest growing segment of Ohio adults are facing,” says O’dell M. Owens, M.D., M.P.H., president/CEO of Interact for Health. “The Board and staff of Interact for Health are pleased to provide these data so that we may alert our state to this issue, which will continue to grow.”

Adds Mulvin, “HealthPath has a focus on keeping older adults safe and supported in their communities. Caregiver support, increasing awareness and reducing isolation all play a role in ensuring that older adults who live in the community are safe from abuse, neglect and exploitation. These results help inform our communities how best to serve the needs of older adults and those who care for them.”

More information about who provides and receives unpaid family caregiving, and other topics from the Poll, is available at www.interactforhealth.org/ohio-health-issues-poll.

About the poll

The 2016 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is funded by Interact for Health. OHIP was conducted July 14 – Aug. 5, 2016, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 863 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by telephone. This included 439 landline telephone interviews and 424 cell phone interviews. In 95 of 100 cases, statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 3.3 percent. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Ohio Health Issues Poll, visit www.interactforhealth.org/ohio-health-issues-poll.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health is building healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available at www.interactforhealth.org.

About The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio

The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio is committed to helping all Ohioans, regardless of status, wealth or circumstances, achieve their fullest health potential. HealthPath supports communities within a 36-county region that are working to achieve the results of Cavity-Free Kids, Healthy Ohioans, and Safe Elders. More information is available at www.healthpathohio.org.

The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio