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Full-Time Employed and a Family Caregiver: A Profile of Women’s Workload, Effort, and Health

      Abstract

      Background

      Women provide care for elderly family members while managing their other responsibilities, including full-time employment.

      Methods

      This descriptive study used an inductively derived workload–effort–health theoretical model to examine workload, effort, and health among 46 full-time employed family caregivers [CG] of community-dwelling older adults from a larger, nonprobability, cross-sectional sample of 110 CGs.

      Findings

      The women’s caregiving workload (time, difficulty, care recipient’s [CR] function), effort (perceived exertion of energy experienced in doing a workload), self-assessed health [SAH], depressive symptoms, and sources of help were richly described, and several associations were found, including higher physical and mental effort, were significantly correlated with higher workload time and difficulty and lower CR function, but not SAH. Higher mental effort and workload, and poorer SAH were significantly correlated with high depressive symptoms. Worse effort, workload, and health experiences were reported by daughters and by women who lived with their CR; those who did not have family or formal caregiving help had higher mental effort and were more depressed, suggesting an area for further study.

      Conclusions

      Suggestions are offered for richer measurement of employment status, caregiving workload, and effort. Findings provide a unique profile of full-time employed women CGs’ workload, effort (that is, how they do the work), and health, toward a stronger understanding of how women manage multiple workloads. Workplace policies are needed to address workload, effort and health in this informal caregiving workforce.
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      Biography

      Evanne Juratovac, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, is a gerontological clinician and scholar with expertise in geriatric mental health and caregiver health known for research and programming that identifies family caregivers’ workload, exertion, health, and the function and well-being of older adults in their care.

      Biography

      Jaclene A. Zauszniewski, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, a senior nurse researcher, is known for her pioneering research on teaching resourcefulness skills to family caregivers to reduce their depressive symptoms, which received intramural and extramural funding. Her expertise has earned recognition with numerous prestigious research awards.