Change in Caregiving to Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Differences by Dementia Status
Published in: Journal of Applied Gerontology (2023). doi: 10.1177/07334648231197514
Posted on RAND.org on October 16, 2023
We use a nationally representative study of 3451 adults who provided assistance to a relative or friend age 50 or older immediately prior to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to explore changes to care provisions, use of services, and support networks. While we see turnover in assistance during a retrospectively assessed 12-month time period, respondents exited or adopted caregiving roles primarily for reasons unrelated to the pandemic. About two thirds of caregivers' social networks remained unchanged and, of those that did change, only half lost network members without gaining others. Changes in care settings and use of support services were uncommon. Caregivers to persons with dementia may have been more adversely affected than other caregivers as they were more likely to experience loss of social ties, potentially performing more care activities without the full support system they had in place prior to the pandemic.