The Surprising Benefit of Being Cared for By Family

You could be the one thing standing in between an elderly loved one and an unnecessary trip to the hospital, according to a University of Wisconsin study. Family caregivers act as an important safeguard, possibly preventing their aging family members from being re-admitted to the hospital unnecessarily.

Researchers discovered that a senior’s risk for returning to the hospital was significantly slashed if they were cared for by an “informal caregiver“ótypically a spouse or an adult child.

Outside of the physical care tasks (bathing, dressing, medication management, etc.) that these family members performed, study authors learned that the psychological and social support family caregivers provided played an important role in keeping their aging loved ones healthy.

The investigation examined the records of over 1,200 Medicare beneficiaries being cared for in their homes.

The goal of the study was to determine how certain social environmental factors including whether or not a senior lived alone, or was being cared for by an informal caregiver, affected their chances of re-hospitalization (being re-admitted to the hospital within 60 days of being released).

More than just another care provider

Family caregivers appear to be so essential because they are capable of providing the emotional encouragement their ailing family members so desperately needed.

Seniors who received adequate amounts of social support from a family member were better able to take care of themselves and engage in healthy behaviors that allowed them to remain living in their homes. They were also more likely to seek out medical attention for themselves when health problems arose.

For those seniors who were unwilling (or unable) to seek medical assistance, family caregivers also often filled the vital role of advocate, recognizing and pursuing necessary medical care for their senior relatives.

According to study authors, “Informal caregivers are part of the solution in preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and more attention needs to be given to how these caregivers are supported in their roles.”

“The Surprising Health Benefit of Being Cared for By Family” originally†appeared on

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By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor


Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kabout a year ago

Many thanks to you !

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Family, the foundation of love and healing

GGma Sheila D.
Sheila D4 years ago

Kdos, standing ovation, all the stars above...and mega Hugs to all of you caregivers. Thank you all.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Pat A.
P A4 years ago

Very good article indeed.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you, for Sharing this!

Lynnl C.
Lynn C4 years ago


Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez4 years ago

Important mantra for the health care provider:

The more I take care of myself the more I can take care of the people and things I love.

Had some tough life lessons learning this one and still stuck in the learning process. Repeat it everyday so you don't forget and be the best that you can be.

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez4 years ago

TYFS...caregivers have a thankless job and family caregivers even more so since it is expected. Been there, doing it still. No one can pay anyone else to do it better than we do. My heart goes out to all of you and try to remember every once in a while to practice self-compassion since no one else can give it to you but yourself and you deserve it!

William H. Russell
William Russell4 years ago

I as well am caring for my very disabled spouse, she has had Rheumatoid Arthritis since 1977, and now is so disabled she has to have help to eat, get out of bed, get into bed, breath as she now has a tracheotomy which of course she can't take care of so I and my nephew when I am not home have to really care for her. Sometimes it can be very trying, but it is also very rewarding as she is a vital part of the family. When she went into the hospital the last time she was in there overnight, was July 26th, 2011. She was in there 3.5 weeks, and I had to bring my nephew up from Indiana to help as the hospital would not release her unless I had someone that could take care of a new trach, and my nephew has had his trach since December 2004. The skills of the hospital staff and the ambulance company saved my wife's life on 7/26/11, and for that I am very grateful. This December 2 will be our 41st anniversary, and hopefully my first day in office as Mayor of Norwich, CT. If you would like to find out about that go to and if you can please take our poll, and if you can help we also have a little blue button in the upper right of the screen. Thank you all for your concern, and together we can accomplish almost anything.