Older adults receiving assistance with physician visits and prescribed medications and their family caregivers: prevalence, characteristics, and hours of care

Jennifer L. Wolff, Brenda Spillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To profile older adults receiving assistance with physician visits and prescribed medications and the time demands associated with their care.

METHODS: Observational study of 7,197 community-dwelling adults ages 65+ responding to the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study.

RESULTS: More than one third of older adults receive assistance with either physician visits or prescribed medications (26.3%), or both (9.9%). The 3.3 million older adults who receive assistance with both physician visits and prescribed medications are a high-need subgroup: 3 in 5 have possible (16.5%) or probable (46.1%) dementia and three quarters (76.6%) receive help with mobility, self-care, or household activities. These 3.3 million older adults receive more than twice as many weekly hours of help with all activities (60.5 hr) as those receiving help with either physician visits or prescribed medications (26.5 hr), or neither (18.6 hr). Older adults receiving help with both physician visits and prescribed medications are assisted by 7.2 million helpers, most often adult children (46.6%), or spouses (23.6%). The 3.1 million helpers who assist with both physician visits and prescribed medications provide an average of 45.4 hr of help per week; nearly two thirds (64.3%) also assist with mobility or self-care.

DISCUSSION: Older adults receiving help with both physician visits and prescribed medications typically have high health and functioning needs that involve significant time demands for caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S65-S72
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Volume69
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Family caregiving
  • Health services
  • Medication management
  • Physician visits.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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