Understanding the Daily Experiences and Perceptions of Homebound Older Adults and Their Caregivers: A Qualitative Study

J Appl Gerontol. 2021 Dec;40(12):1722-1732. doi: 10.1177/0733464821990171. Epub 2021 Feb 1.


More than 7.3 million older adults in the United States have difficulty leaving their homes or are completely homebound, yet little data exist on the experiences of homebound older adults and their caregivers. We conducted 30 semi-structured qualitative interviews with homebound older adults and caregivers recruited through home-based medical care practices in Baltimore and San Francisco. Thematic template analyses revealed that homebound older adults experience varying degrees of independence in activities of daily living, although their degree of dependence increases over time. Caregivers have a multifaceted, round-the-clock role. Both patients and caregivers experience burdens including social isolation and guilt. Navigating medical care and caregiving was further complicated by the complexity of the U.S. health care system; however, home-based medical care was viewed as a high-quality alternative to hospitals or nursing homes. Our findings suggest that providers and health care systems should expand the availability and accessibility of home-based care and improve caregiver support opportunities.

Keywords: caregiving; home-based primary care; homebound; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Home Care Services*
  • Homebound Persons*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • United States