Fit for caring: factors associated with informal care provision by older caregivers with and without multimorbidity

Andrea E. Schmidt, Stefania Ilinca, Katharine Schulmann, Ricardo Rodrigues, Andrea Principi, Francesco Barbabella, Agnieszka Sowa, Stanislawa Golinowska, Dorly Deeg, Henrike Galenkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Due to an increased prevalence of chronic diseases, older individuals may experience a deterioration of their health condition in older ages, limiting their capacity for social engagement and in turn their well-being in later life. Focusing on care provision to grandchildren and (older) relatives (‘informal care’) as forms of engagement, this paper aims to identify which individual characteristics may compensate for health deficits and enable individuals with multimorbidity to provide informal care. We use data from the SHARE survey (2004–2012) for individuals aged 60 years and above in 10 European countries. Logistic regression estimates for the impact of different sets of characteristics on the decision to provide care are presented separately for people with and without multimorbidity. Adapting Arber and Ginn’s resource theory, we expected that older caregivers’ resources (e.g., income or having a spouse) would facilitate informal care provision to a greater extent for people with multimorbidity compared to those without multimorbidity, but this result was not confirmed. While care provision rates are lower among individuals suffering from chronic conditions, the factors associated with caregiving for the most part do not differ significantly between the two groups. Results, however, hint at reciprocal intergenerational support patterns within families, as the very old with multimorbidity are more likely to provide care than those without multimorbidity. Also, traditional gender roles for women are likely to be weakened in the presence of health problems, as highlighted by a lack of gender differences in care provision among people with multimorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 23 2016


  • (Multi)morbidity
  • Europe
  • Extra-residential care
  • Grandchild care
  • Older people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health(social science)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Fit for caring: factors associated with informal care provision by older caregivers with and without multimorbidity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this