AIM: This article is a report of a study conducted to compare quality of life and levels of depressive symptoms among older grandparent caregivers and non-caregivers in Taiwan. BACKGROUND: Little is known about grandparenthood in modern Chinese society. In particular, no research has been conducted to explore the consequences among Chinese grandparent caregivers of caring for grandchildren. METHODS: A cross-sectional comparative pilot study was conducted in 2007 in a city in Taiwan. A convenience sample of 45 grandparent caregivers and 48 grandparent non-caregivers was interviewed using a questionnaire including Taiwanese versions of the Short Form-36 Health Survey and Geriatric Depression Scale. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences in measures of quality of life or depression were found between the caregiver and non-caregiver groups. Physical health was poorer than mental health in both caregiver and non-caregiver groups. Among caregivers, 55.6% reported psychological distress, even though 86.7% had support from family members. CONCLUSION: Nurses in community settings should be aware of the physical burdens on older grandparent caregivers and offer advice to protect their health. Further studies with larger sample sizes are required to generate more complete results on the consequences of caregiving by grandparents. The buffering role of family support on caregiving stress should also be further studied using validated measurement tools.
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