Degree of Disability and Patterns of Caregiving among Older Americans with Congestive Heart Failure

This article examined the impact of congestive heart failure (CHF) and other heart problems on the experience of disability among older adults. Also explored in the article was the use of in-home services by older adults.

Data was collected from the 2000 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Participants were 11,093 adults age 65 and older. Participants either had no coronary heart disease (CHD), CHD but no CHF, or CHF only. Outcomes of interest included activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), use of formal and informal in-home services, and hospital and nursing home admission.

Key Findings:

  • Participants with CHF were significantly more likely to have limitations in ADL and IADL and report geriatric conditions than participants that did not report CHF.
  • Participants with CHF reported more hours of formal and informal in-home care than did participants with CHD but not CHF, and participants with no CHD.
  • More participants with CHF reported being hospitalized than did participants with CHD but not CHF, and participants with no CHD.

Medical services that address various aspects of functioning, particularly for individuals with CHF who have multiple needs, will promote optimal health care for older adults.