Age-dependency in mortality of family caregivers : a nationwide register-based study

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Mikkola , T M , Kautiainen , H , Mänty , M , von Bonsdorff , M B , Kröger , T & Eriksson , J G 2021 , ' Age-dependency in mortality of family caregivers : a nationwide register-based study ' , Aging Clinical and Experimental Research , vol. 33 , no. 7 , pp. 1971–1980 .

Title: Age-dependency in mortality of family caregivers : a nationwide register-based study
Author: Mikkola, Tuija M.; Kautiainen, Hannu; Mänty, Minna; von Bonsdorff, Mikaela B.; Kröger, Teppo; Eriksson, Johan G.
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Clinicum
University of Helsinki, Folkhälsan Research Center
University of Helsinki, Clinicum
University of Helsinki, Clinicum

Date: 2021-07
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Aging Clinical and Experimental Research
ISSN: 1594-0667
Abstract: Background Evidence on family caregivers' health is conflicting. Aim To investigate all-cause and cause-specific mortality in Finnish family caregivers providing high-intensity care and to assess whether age modifies the association between family caregiver status and mortality using data from multiple national registers. Methods The data include all individuals, who received family caregiver's allowance in Finland in 2012 (n = 42,256, mean age 67 years, 71% women) and a control population matched for age, sex, and municipality of residence (n = 83,618). Information on dates and causes of death between 2012 and 2017 were obtained from the Finnish Causes of Death Register. Results Family caregivers had lower all-cause mortality than the controls over the follow-up (8.1 vs. 11.6%) both among women (socioeconomic status adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 0.64, 95% CI 0.61-0.68) and men (adjusted HR: 0.73, 95% CI 0.70-0.77). When modelling all-cause mortality as a function of age, younger caregivers had only slightly lower or equal mortality to their controls, but older caregivers had markedly lower mortality than their controls, up to more than 10% lower. Caregivers had a lower mortality rate for all the causes of death studied, namely cardiovascular, cancer, neurological, external, respiratory, gastrointestinal and dementia. The lowest risk was for dementia (subhazard ratio = 0.29, 95% CI 0.25-0.34). Conclusions Older family caregivers had lower mortality than the age-matched general population while mortality did not differ according to caregiver status in young adulthood. This age-dependent advantage in mortality is likely to reflect the selection of healthier individuals into the family caregiver role.
Subject: Informal caregiver
Family caregiver
Cause of death
Register-based study
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health

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