Informal caregiving at old age. Content, coping, difficulties and satisfaction

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Older people take a great share of caregiving responsibility already and thus understanding of their strain, coping and satis-faction is required. The aim was to investigate dimensions of caregiving activities among elderly (75+) caregivers and to study the dimensions in relation to health-related quality of life (Paper I). It was also to investigate quality of life in relation to loneliness, caregiving, social network, gender, age and economic status among men and women in a population-based sample aged 75 or older (Paper II). Another aim was to investigate coping strategies and sense of coherence (SOC) in relation to gender, the extent of care, caregiving activities and QoL in a sample of caregivers aged 75+ (n=171) and to explore the reliability and validity of an instrument assessing coping (CAMI) (Paper III). It was also to study correlation between gender, extent and content of the care, coping, satisfaction and difficulties in the caregiving situation and to identify clusters of caregivers (Paper IV), and to psycho-metrically explore two instruments assessing satisfaction (CASI) and difficulties (CADI) in the care (Paper IV) as well as sources of satisfaction together with caregiving difficulties. Responses to a Swedish postal survey (n=4278) (Paper II) showed that 18% helped another person due to that person’s impaired health (Paper I), 41.6% women among the caregivers, mean age 81.8 (SD 4.96) for men 81.7 (SD 4.32). The second sample included 171 caregivers (59.6% men, mean age 82.1, SD 4.6, women 80.6, SD 3.9), response rate 47%, of whom almost 70% provided help every day (Papers III & IV). Adapting their activities to be prepared if something happened (52%), having regular contact to prevent problems (35%), helping in contacts with the hospital (57%), helping with IADL (49%), PADL (14%), medical care (11%) and helping to improve functions (14%) were activities reported. Adapting own activities, regular contact, weak economy and needing help with IADL oneself predicted low MCS-12 (Paper I). Caregivers had a larger social network and reported feelings of loneliness less often than non-caregivers, indicating that caregiving takes place mainly in the phase when the older person is healthy (Paper II). There were gender differences in loneliness, with women being more lonely. Loneliness and a small network were associated with low QoL among caregivers as well as elderly in general (Paper II). The 25% of the respondents (n=171) with the lowest MCS-12 scores were more dissatisfied with the information given about the practical and medical care than those with higher scores (Paper III). Higher MCS-12 predicted with using self-sustaining coping and a high SOC while poor economy and asking for social and practical support predicted low scores. The most frequent source of satisfaction was seeing the care recipient happy (77%) and problems with mobility in the person cared for (28%) and difficulties sleeping were frequently reported (14%) which shows that feelings of satisfaction were more frequent than experiencing difficulties. The difficulties did not differ between men and women.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing


  • Gerontology, Gerontologi, satisfaction, coping, gender, loneliness, Elderly, informal caregivers
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Oct 27
  • Lunds Universitet, Institutionen för omvårdnad, Box 157, 221 00 Lund,
Print ISBNs91-628-6183-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-10-27 Time: 10:15 Place: Hörsal 01, Vårdvetenskapens hus External reviewer(s) Name: Grafström, Margareta Title: [unknown] Affiliation: [unknown] --- Article: Anna Ekwall, Bengt Sivberg and Ingalill Rahm Hallberg (2004). Dimen-sions of informal care and quality of life among elderly caregivers. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences. 18, 239-248 Article: Anna Ekwall, Bengt Sivberg and Ingalill Rahm Hallberg. Loneliness as a predictor of quality of life among elderly caregivers and non-caregivers. Journal of Advanced Nursing. (Accepted) Article: Anna Kristensson Ekwall, Bengt Sivberg and Ingalill Rahm Hallberg. Elderly caregivers’ coping strategies and sense of coherence in relation to quality of life. (Submitted for publication) Article: Anna Kristensson Ekwall and Ingalill Rahm Hallberg. The correlation between caregiving satisfaction, difficulties and coping among elderly family caregivers. (Submitted for publication) The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000)