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Keywords:

  • informal caregiver;
  • gender;
  • nursing;
  • elderly;
  • quality of life

The aim was to investigate dimensions of caregiving activities among elderly (75+) caregivers based on Nolan's model and to study the dimensions in relation to health-related quality of life (Short Form 12). Responses to a Swedish postal survey (n = 4278, response rate 75–79 years old: 60%; 80–84: 56%; 85–89: 48% and 90+: 42%) showed that 783 persons (18%) were helping another person due to that person's impaired health, 41.6% women, mean age for women 81.8 years (SD 4.96) and for men 81.7 years (SD 4.32). The postal questionnaire included SF-12, demographic data and questions about caregiving activities derived from Nolan's model, social network and contacts with health care. Adapting their activities to be prepared if something happened (52%), having regular contact to prevent problems (35%), helping in contacts with the hospital (57%), helping with instrumental activities of daily living (49%), personal activities of daily living (14%), medical care (11%) and helping to improve functions (14%) were the activities reported. Adapting own activities, regular contact, weak economy and needing instrumental help with daily living oneself predicted low MCS12. The importance of early involvement on the part of the caregivers was emphasized.