Caregiver health literacy and health task performance: Findings from the LitCog caregiver cohort study

Rachel O'Conor*, Morgan Bonham, Grace Magnuson, Lauren Opsasnick, Jeimmy Hurtado, Julia Yoshino Benavente, Laura M. Curtis, Michael S. Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Many older adults receive assistance in managing their chronic conditions. Yet complicating the utility of caregiver support is whether caregivers have sufficient skills to aid in older adults' health management at home. We examined associations between caregiver health literacy and performance on health tasks. Methods: Caregivers to older adults enrolled in a cognitive aging cohort were recruited to participate in a supplemental interview (n = 97). Caregivers completed one structured interview that included assessments of health literacy and health task performance. Results: Caregivers demonstrated a range of health literacy skills (44% adequate, 36% marginal, 20% low health literacy). In adjusted analyses, caregivers with marginal and low health literacy demonstrated worse overall performance on the health tasks, and poorer interpretation of health information presented on print documents and recall of spoken communication (p's < 0.05). Conclusion: Caregivers with marginal or low health literacy demonstrated poorer performance on everyday health tasks that they commonly assist older adults with. The application of health literacy best-practices to support better training and capacity-building for caregivers is warranted. Innovation: Few studies have considered the health literacy skills of caregivers and its application to caregivers' abilities to carry out common supportive tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100240
JournalPEC Innovation
StatePublished - Dec 15 2023


  • Caregiver
  • Health literacy
  • Older adults
  • Self-care skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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