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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


FERNANDEZ, M. Beatriz  and  HERRERA, M. Soledad. Health effects of dependent older people caregiving by family members. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2020, vol.148, n.1, pp.30-36. ISSN 0034-9887.


Care required by dependent older people is mostly provided by close family members. Caregiving is a demanding task, negatively affecting the physical and mental health of the caregiver.


To describe the sociodemographic characteristics of informal caregivers of dependent elderly people in Chile and to evaluate the effect of providing care on the health of caregivers.

Material and Methods:

Data from the Economic Characterization Survey (CASEN) done in 2015 was used. Using as index cases older people who were receiving care from a family member, 4,313 informal caregivers were identified, whose characteristics were analyzed. Descriptive statistics and matching through propensity score were estimated, based on a logistic model, which included covariates such as sex, age, marital status, education, occupation, and income. Finally, the effect of being an informal caregiver versus not being a caregiver on the perception of health was calculated.


Forty four percent of the caregivers were offspring and 33.6% couples. Sixty seven percent were women, with a mean age of 56.5 years. Half of them had a partner, 43% had basic education or less, and 61% were inactive. Being a caregiver had a significant effect of health perception.


People belonging to certain more vulnerable groups are more likely to assume caregiving. Providing care to a dependent older person has a negative effect on health perception.

Keywords : Aged; Caregivers; Patient Care.

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