Unpaid informal caregivers in South Australia: Population characteristics, prevalence and age-period-cohort effects 1994-2014

Anne F. Stacey, Tiffany Gill, Kay Price, Rosemary Warmington, Anne W. Taylor

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The ongoing need for an availability of informal carers is taking on greater relevance as the global burden of disease transitions from acute fatal diseases to long term morbidity. Growing evidence suggests that extra burden on family carers may furtherimpact on their health and ability to provide care. Importantas it is to monitor the prevalence of those conditions which influence the burden of disease, it is also importantto monitor the prevalence and health profiles of those who provide the informal care. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the prevalence and demographics of adult carers aged 15 and over in the state of South Australia over 20 years between 1994 and 2014. Methods: Data from nine representative, cross-sectional population surveys, conducted in South Australia, Australia were used, (total N = 26,788 and n = 1,504 carers). The adjusted prevalence estimate of carers and their demographic characteristics were determined.So as to examine whether there were any generational effects on the prevalence of carers, an Age-Period Cohort(APC) analysis was undertaken. Results: The prevalence estimates of carers increased during the two decades from 3.7% in 1994 to 6.7% by 2014. Large increases in the proportionof retired carers, those aged 70 years and over, those carers employed, and those with higher educational qualifications were observed. There were also larger proportionsof respondents with a country of birthother than Australia, UK, Ireland and European counties. The APC analysis illustrated an increasing prevalence rate over each decade for carers aged 20-80 years, especially for those over the age of 60 years. Conclusions: The results illustrate changing carer characteristics and carer prevalence estimates in South Australia as new generations of carers take on the caring role. There is a need to include questions regarding informal carers within ongoing mainstream population surveys, particularlyat state levels, so as to plan for their future health care and home support.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0161994
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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