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Perspectives on Rural Caregiving Challenges and Interventions

Henning-Smith C, Lahr M

Unpaid, informal caregivers provide the vast majority of all long-term care in the United States. However, little is known about specific challenges they face in rural areas or what can be done to support them.

This brief presents findings from key informant interviews describing challenges and opportunities related to supporting informal caregivers in rural areas. A related policy brief, “Resources for Caregiving in Rural Communities,” provides details about specific programs serving caregivers in rural ares.

Key Findings:

  • Forty-one key informants across multiple sectors identified challenges, recent changes to rural caregiving, and┬ástrategies related to supporting informal (unpaid) caregivers in rural areas.
  • Main challenges relate to access to resources, transportation, culture, demography, and isolation.
  • Recent changes to rural caregiving relate to technology, demographic shifts, financial pressure, and changes in awareness and information.
  • Possible strategies to support rural caregivers include increasing funding, developing a national strategy, and expanding access to resources.


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