Caregiving can be a stressful responsibility and the needs of a care recipient can vary widely. One study investigated the well-being and burden of caregivers of US-born older adults compared to older adults born outside the US.
Researchers used data from the National Study of Caregiving to identify 1,436 adults providing care to an older adult (age 65 or better) not residing in a senior living community. They examined how the care recipient’s nativity status (foreign born or born in the US) and caregiver’s race/ethnicity were related to perceived caregiving burden, physical health, and psychological well-being. They also examined the role of demographic characteristics, stressors from caregiving, and social support from family, friends, and groups.
Overall, caregivers of foreign-born older adults reported higher burden, regardless of caregiver’s race/ethnicity, than caregivers of US-born older adults. This finding held true even after accounting for caregivers of foreign-born recipients being slightly younger (average 55 vs. 60 years), having more caregiving stressors, and having more financial difficulty due to caregiving.
However, the results were slightly different for self-rated physical health and psychological well-being. Among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic caregivers, those caring for foreign-born older adults reported better self-rated health and psychological well-being than caregivers of US-born older adults. This finding was reversed for white caregivers.
While it is important to support all caregivers, these findings suggest caregivers of foreign-born adults are particularly in need of support as they tend to have greater caregiving responsibilities and higher perceived burden. The sample of these caregivers was relatively small compared to caregivers of US-born adults, so more research will be needed. However, if future studies confirm the findings related to caregiver race/ethnicity, there may be something to learn from how these caregivers report better health and well-being despite greater care responsibilities.
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