Health of Aging Family Caregivers in Illinois

Health of Aging Family Caregivers in Illinois (2010). Yamaki, K., Hsieh, K. & Heller T.
This brief compares the rates of obesity between adults with and without I/DD from 1985 to 2000. It is based on an analysis of the National Health Interview Surveys.

It is estimated that 1.7 million adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in the nation are supported by older and middle-aged family caregivers, with 25% of caregivers aged 65 years and older, and an additional 35% aged between 40 and 64 years1. Individuals in these middle and older age groups are frequently confronted with challenges of maintaining their own health, including increased susceptibility to chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and hearing impairment. Many older and middle-aged adults report difficulty in daily activities such as walking, pushing and pulling large objects, and shopping. Although the health status of these caregivers could impact their current and future capacity to support their family members with I/DD, this health status is largely unknown.

This research compared the health status of 206 female caregivers, ages 40 years and over, who resided with their adult family members with I/DD in Illinois. This information was compared with Illinois general population data to examine whether there were any health disparities for these caregivers. Data were collected as part of a statewide health survey of adults with I/DD living with their family members and their primary family caregivers.
Health status of caregivers was examined using the prevalence of the following 10 common chronic health conditions, along with information on their activity limitations:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Angina or Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Attack
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • Stroke

Braddock, D., Hemp, R., & Rizzolo, M. (2008). The state of the states in developmental disabilities. Boulder: Department of Psychiatry and Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado.

For more details on the health status of aging family caregivers, see Yamaki, K., Hseih, K., & Heller, T. (2009). Health profile of aging family caregivers supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at home. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 47(6), 425–435.