Interdependence in Health and Functioning Among Older Spousal Caregivers and Care Recipients

Geoffrey J. Hoffman, Sarah Burgard, Carolyn A. Mendez-Luck, Joseph E. Gaugler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Older spousal caregiving relationships involve support that may be affected by the health of either the caregiver or care recipient. We conducted a longitudinal analysis using pooled data from 4,632 community-dwelling spousal care recipients and caregivers aged ⩾50 from the 2002 to 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. We specified logistic and negative binomial regression models using lagged predictor variables to assess the role of partner health status on spousal caregiver and care recipient health care utilization and physical functioning outcomes. Care recipients’ odds of hospitalization, odds ratio (OR): 0.83, p<.001, decreased when caregivers had more ADL difficulties. When spouses were in poorer versus better health, care recipients’ bed days decreased (4.69 vs. 2.54) while caregivers’ bed days increased (0.20 vs. 0.96). Providers should consider the dual needs of caregivers caring for care recipients and their own health care needs, in adopting a family-centered approach to management of older adult long-term care needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-703
Number of pages19
JournalWestern journal of nursing research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • aged
  • caregivers
  • chronic disease
  • family caregivers
  • self-care


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