Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2021 Jun 17;7:23337214211025124. doi: 10.1177/23337214211025124. eCollection 2021 Jan-Dec.
The objective of this exploratory study was to explore potential associations between changes to caregiver burden (CB) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rural-urban status using a nationally representative sample of 761 informal caregivers. Tertiles of two measures of rural-urban status were used: Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs) and population density. Bivariate and multivariable binary and ordinal logistic regression were used to asses study objectives. Using RUCAs, rural informal caregivers were more than twice as likely as urban informal caregivers to report a substantial increase in CB due to COVID-19 (OR 2.27, 95% CI [1.28-4.02]). Similar results were observed for population density tertiles (OR 2.20, 95% CI [1.22-3.96]). Having a COVID-19 diagnosis was also significantly associated with increased CB. Understanding and addressing the root causes of rural-urban disparities in CB among informal caregivers is critical to improving caregiver health and maintaining this critical component of the healthcare system.