Date of Award
Master of Science
Human Development and Family Studies
Jennifer A. Margrett
An estimated 34.2 million informal caregivers provided care to adults 50 and older in the United States in 2015. Due to the demands of caregiving, approximately 65% of caregivers report moderate to severe levels of stress. To provide support to caregivers and thereby enhance care provided to care recipients, various programs and long-term services and supports (LTSS) are available. However, many caregivers are unaware or do not have adequate knowledge about these resources. The purpose of this thesis was to analyze knowledge of LTSS and feelings of strain in caregivers by examining two programs aiding in the effort to support caregivers and provide them with resources.
Study 1 explored the Caregiver Beginnings Workshop, which was a one-time educational session aimed at providing caregivers with information regarding available services as well as providing knowledge to assist them with caregiving responsibilities. A block regression was completed to examine predictors of knowledge of LTSS in caregivers. The findings of study 1 included living in a more rural area was a predictor of higher levels of knowledge of LTSS. It was also found that perceived infrequent support was a predictor of lower levels of knowledge of LTSS. County-level indicators were also explored.
Study 2 examined the Health and Resilience Outreach (HERO) program, which was a telephone-based program that recruited volunteers to provide support and service referrals to caregivers. This program aimed at decreasing or maintaining caregiver strain, improving access to services, and enhancing caregiver resiliency. A generalized linear model was analyzed to examine predictors of caregiver strain. The results of study 2 indicated that age, relationship type, initial strain, and changes in care recipient health behaviors were predictors of strain.
Overall, both studies suggest that by increasing the understanding about personal and community level characteristics that impact caregiver knowledge and strain, future efforts directed towards improving the lives of caregivers will be better informed and more effective. These efforts can help to inform future programs and policies regarding increased support and resources for caregivers because, as these results indicated, providing increased support benefits caregivers and thereby ultimately the care receiver.
Stratton, Lauren, "Providing knowledge and support to caregivers of older adults: Investigation of two programs" (2017). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15622.