Title

Middle-aged offspring’s support to aging parents with emerging disability

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Gerontologist

Volume

57

Issue

3

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Publication Date

6-1-2017

First Page

441

Last Page

450

DOI

10.1093/geront/gnv686

Abstract

Purpose of the Study: A vast literature has examined family caregivers, but few studies explore transitions from providing ordinary support to parents to situations involving increasing dependency. Using 2 waves of data, we examined how parents’ increasing disability in activities of daily living (ADL) is associated with changes in everyday support patterns, relationship quality, and psychological well-being of middle-aged offspring, taking into account other informal and paid help to the parent. Design and Methods: Three hundred and eighty middle-aged adults reported on everyday support they provided to each parent (N = 487) and parent’s ADL at baseline and 5 years later. Results: Increased parents’ disability led to increases in offspring’s support, in particular tangible support. Support given by offspring was lower when parents received paid help but was not affected by help from other informal members (e.g., family members, friends). Increased disability was associated with decreases in positive relationship quality with parents; as well, offspring who provided actual help with ADL reported increases in negative relationship quality. Implications: The effects of increasing parents’ disability on relationship quality and involvement of other informal and paid help may have implications for the longer-term impact of care on both offspring and their parents.

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