Authors: Dr Rezwanul Rana1, Dr Syed Afroz Keramat2, A/Professor Tracy Comans3, Professor Henry Cutler4
- Research Fellow, Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE), Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia.
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Health Services, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Australia.
- A/Professor, Centre for Health Services, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Australia.
- Professor and Director, Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE), Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia.
The following is a summary of a research project by the authors. For more information, please contact Rezwanul Rana at Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE) (email: Rezwanul.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Care recipients, health care systems, and society benefit significantly from informal caregivers' services, while moderate and intensive care burdens negatively affect carers' well-being and happiness. All levels of care burdens, even light care burdens, impact carers' financial well-being. Additional government support is required for caregivers with a significant burden of care.
The research led by Rezwanul Rana from Macquarie University used data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) Survey to determine the effect of informal caregiving burden on carers' well-being. This study classified informal caregiving responsibilities as non-carer, lighter caregiving (<5 hours/week), moderate caregiving (5–19 hours/week) and intensive caregiving (20 or more hours/week) following the prior study.
For life satisfaction; they use the question, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life?". Affective well-being was measured through the five-item subscale "Mental Health" of the SF-36 Health Survey, which ranged from feeling anxious and unhappy to happy and the MHI-5 index score. The financial well-being of the respondent was measured from the response to the question: "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your financial situation (on a scale of 0-10)?". For these three outcomes, a higher number indicated higher well-being.
- A caregiver's burden significantly impacts their subjective, affective, and financial well-being regardless of their socio-demographic and health characteristics. Therefore, we recommend future research to explore cost-effective solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of being a caregiver who must provide intensive care.
- Governments should assist caregivers in balancing their responsibilities between informal care and work and health and financial well-being.
Source: Authors' calculation using data from the fifteen waves (2006 to 2020) of the HILDA Survey.
Notes: SWB= subjective well-being; AWB= affective well-being; and FWB = financial well-being.
Figure 1: Mean well-being scores by types of informal caring, 2006-2020 All waves of the survey show that informal caregivers with intensive care responsibilities are consistently less well-off than those without or with lighter responsibilities (Figure 1).