Differences in Amount of Informal Care Received by Non-Hispanic Whites and Latinos in a Nationally Representative Sample of Older Americans

The objective of this study was to evaluate informal (unpaid) care and its broad determinants for Latinos in a nationally representative sample. A cross-sectional analysis of the 1993 Asset and Health Dynamics Study, a national probability sample of 7,443 older adults aged 70 and older, was performed to determine the independent effect of Latino ethnicity on the receipt of informal care by disabled older individuals. Self-reported race/ethnicity was used to predict the mean daily hours of informal care received for activity of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) assistance after adjustment for predisposing, need, and enabling variables. There was a significant association between informal home care and ethnic group, with 44.3% of Latinos receiving informal care, compared with 33.9% of African Americans and 24.6% of non-Hispanic whites (P<.001). After adjustment, Latinos received 11.0 weekly hours of informal care, compared with 7.5 hours for non-Hispanic whites and 6.3 hours for African Americans (P<.001). The results from this nationally representative sample indicate that Latinos receive significantly more hours of informal care on average than African Americans or non-Hispanic whites for ADL and IADL disability. Clinicians should be alert to the significant amount of informal care and possible associated strain in caregivers of older Latinos.