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Elderly Care Provision and the Impact on Caregiver Health in China

Jingyi Ai, Jin Feng and Yangyang Yu

China & World Economy, 2022, vol. 30, issue 5, 206-226

Abstract: With the fast pace of population aging, industrialization, and urbanization in China, the main source of elderly care is changing. Using China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey data, we investigate the elderly care provision situation and find that spouses are currently the most important elderly care providers in China. We use a model to depict the trade‐off between a caregiver's own health and the care quality obtained by the care recipient. The model predicts that under some conditions, the caregivers will provide care at the cost of their health. Employing a stratified propensity score matching method, we find that spouses' caregivers are more likely to have depression, physical pain, and hypertension than noncaregivers. The negative effects are larger for caregivers with a high level of care intensity or less support from other resources. Female spousal caregivers tend to suffer more from depression and physical pain than male spousal caregivers. Our findings suggest that policies toward “healthy aging” should target not only the disabled elderly but also their spousal caregivers who are also elderly people.

Date: 2022
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