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Predictors of quality of life for aging family caregivers of adults with autism

Published: 19 January 2023

Abstract: Family caregivers provide the predominance of care for loved ones requiring caregiving support in the United States. Quality of life and caregiver burden are impacted as caregivers age and their health declines. The purpose of this study was to determine if the domains of caregiver burden (time dependence, developmental, emotional, and impact of finances on caregiving) and informal social support were predictors of quality of life for aging parental caregivers of adult children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants (N = 320) included caregivers who were at least 50 years of age and had an adult child (18+) diagnosed with ASD. The findings indicated that three variables (developmental burden, emotional burden, and informal social support) entered the multiple linear regression analysis as significant predictors of quality of life after controlling for caregiver age and self-reported health. Social workers and other health professionals should be cognizant of health declines in caregivers that could impact their ability to provide care. They also should encourage family and friends to assist caregivers by providing emotional support and helping with everyday tasks. When visiting aging caregivers, professionals should look for signs of declining health and suggest the caregiver visit his or her primary care provider.
Keywords: Caregiving / adults with autism / health / quality of life / caregiver burden / informal social support

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