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The Gerontologist 47:752-762 (2007)
© 2007 The Gerontological Society of America

Assistance Received by Employed Caregivers and Their Care Recipients: Who Helps Care Recipients When Caregivers Work Full Time?

Andrew E. Scharlach, PhD1, Kristen Gustavson, MSW and Teresa S. Dal Santo, PhD1

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Andrew E. Scharlach, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, 120 Haviland, Berkeley, CA 94720. E-mail: scharlach{at}

Purpose: This study examined the association among caregiver labor force participation, employees' caregiving activities, and the amount and quality of care received by care recipients. Design and Methods:Telephone interviews were conducted with 478 adults who were employed full time and 705 nonemployed adults who provided care to a family member or friend aged 50 or older, identified through random sampling of California households. We assessed care recipient impairment and service problems; the amounts and types of assistance received from caregivers, family and friends, and paid providers; and caregiver utilization of support services.  Results: Care recipients of caregivers employed full time were less likely to receive large amounts of care from their caregivers, more likely to receive personal care from paid care providers, more likely to use community services, and more likely to experience service problems than were care recipients of nonemployed caregivers. Employed caregivers were more likely to use caregiver support services than were nonemployed caregivers. Implications:Accommodation to caregiver full-time employment involves selective supplementation by caregivers and their care recipients, reflecting increased reliance on formal support services as well as increased vulnerability to service problems and unmet care recipient needs. These findings suggest the need for greater attention to the well-being of disabled elders whose caregivers are employed full time.

Key Words: Caregiving • Employment • Service utilization • Care networks • Unmet needs

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2007 by The Gerontological Society of America.