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Rural Health Information Hub

Caregivers and Caregiver Well-Being

More than 80% of long-term care for older adults is provided by unpaid family members and friends who often help a loved one after a terminal diagnosis, sudden accident, or other challenging life events. Often, they transition into the primary caregiver if conditions do not improve. To be a caregiver, the individual dedicates a large amount of time, energy, focus, and even financial resources toward the care of their loved one. The added responsibilities often make caregiving extremely difficult, sometimes taking a toll on their overall well-being.

A variety of factors in rural communities create more challenges for rural caregivers. Some of these challenges include:

  • Geographic isolation
  • Difficulty accessing formal healthcare and social services
  • Lower median income and more financial hardship than urban areas
  • Greater needs for long-term care

Rural caregivers are less likely to use formal support services, such as support groups, aid or nursing agencies, and other paid help to assist in their caretaking responsibilities. Many rural communities offer fewer of these services compared to non-rural communities. Programs to help older rural adults age in place must also consider the needs of caregivers by giving them support, such as respite care and connection to instrumental support services, and information and education to help them in providing care.

Resources to Learn More

Caregiving in Rural America
Highlights concerns for rural caregivers and discusses actions that must take place to support the unique needs of rural caregivers. This source also provides two program profiles that offer services for rural caregivers.
Organization(s): Easter Seals Disability Services, National Alliance for Caregiving
Date: 2006