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Does giving personal care to a spouse or partner in need cause a burden on the provider?
Using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, and resorting to the partners’
matching code to incorporate patients’ characteristics in the analysis, I look at the impact of
providing personal care to a partner on self-assessed physical health, depression and disability
levels of the caregiver. I follow three approaches: a simple static approach, a static approach
with matching and a dynamic approach. The results of the static models show that informal
caregiving has positive effects on the provider’s physical health. The findings are conditional
on the inclusion of partners’ health characteristics in the model, which correct for the negative
selection of caregivers driven by household health investment decisions and emotional effects.
However, the dynamic approach points towards possible losses on the disability measure due
to continued care, suggesting that benefits may decrease over time. The results should be
interpreted in the context of low intensity co-residential informal care.