Centre for Policy on Ageing

Caregiving, volunteering or both?
 — comparing effects on health and mortality using census-based records from almost 250,000 people aged 65 and over
Author(s)Dermot O'Reilly, Michael Rosato, Finola Ferry
Journal titleAge and Ageing, vol 46, no 5, September 2017
PublisherOxford University Press, September 2017
Pagespp 821-826
Full text*https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afx017
AnnotationThe health impacts of caregiving and volunteering are rarely studied concurrently, despite the potential for both synergies and conflicts. This population-based study examined the association of these activities on health and subsequent mortality. This was a census-based record-linkage study of 244,429 people aged 65 and over, with cohort characteristics, caregiving and volunteering status, and presence of chronic health conditions derived from census returns. Mortality risk was assessed over the following 45 months with adjustment for baseline characteristics. Caregivers and volunteers were individually more mobile than those undertaking neither activity; caregivers who also volunteered were more mobile than those who did not volunteer, but no less likely to suffer from poor mental health. Both caregiving and volunteering were separately associated with reduced mortality risk, however the lowest mortality was found amongst light caregivers who also volunteered, compared to those engaged in neither. There was no evidence of a multiplicative effect of caregiving and volunteering at more intense levels of caregiving. There is a large overlap in caregiving and volunteering activities with complex associations with health status. Evidence shows that combining caregiving and volunteering activities, for those involved in less intense levels of caregiving, may be associated with lower mortality risk than associated with either activity alone. Further research is needed to understand which aspects of caregiving and volunteering are best for whom and in what circumstances. (JL).
Accession NumberCPA-171006206 A
ClassmarkBBE: P6:SJ: P6: GHH: CC: S5
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