Background There has been rapid growth in older caregivers (OCs) age 65+ in the UK.1 2 3 Playing a fundamental role in the life of their care-recipient,4 5 helping to sustain preferred place of care, with many delivering over 50 hours of weekly care6. OCs may themselves have age and caring role associated health issues.7 8 Spending cuts mean fewer now qualify for support.9 Understanding the breadth and extent of OCs unmet needs can inform support to help OCs maintain their wellbeing and caring role.
Aim To identify and describe the unmet health and social care needs of caregivers aged 65+ in the UK.
Methods A systematic search was undertaken across a wide range of databases and grey literature from inception to February 2018. Two reviewers undertook study selection, data extraction and quality assessment. Qualitative Metasummary was used to synthesise findings.
Results In total 10 of 4407 identified records satisfied the inclusion criteria. Eight unmet need domains were identified, many were interrelated and displayed interplay: psychosocial, service, informational, constancy of care, future care planning, physical health issues, reluctance to utilise services, and financial needs.
Conclusions The review has identified eight domains of unmet need that may impact on OCs wellbeing and ability to care. OCs are a heterogeneous group with wide-ranging support needs, hence personalised carer’s needs assessments are vital. Services need to be accessible, flexible and sufficiently available. Service information should be actively promoted. An extensive research gap on the unmet needs of OCs has been exposed.
Systematic Review Registration: CRD42018086759.
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Ismail S, Thorlby R, Holder H. (2014) Focus On: Social care for older people. ?England: Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation.
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