Division of Care Among Adult Children

TitleDivision of Care Among Adult Children
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDavey, A, Szinovacz, ME
EditorDavey, A, Szinovacz, ME
Book TitleCaregiving Contexts: Cultural, familial, and societal implications
CityNew York
Call Numbernewpubs20080528_Davey2008
KeywordsAdult children, Healthcare

Adult children play a central role within the family context of care for frail elders. As the preceding chapter by Stoller and Miklowski indicated, older married adults turn first to a spouse for assistance. However, rising divorce rates during the past decades may decrease the availability of spouses as caregivers in the future, and, as the gender gap in longevity closes and more couples age together, both spouses may experience frailty or cognitive decline and thus require support from other family members. After spouses, the next preferred group of potential family caregivers is adult children (Cantor, 1975). Today's cohort of older adults is unique with regard to their high fertility, which produced the baby boom cohorts. As a result, these parents have, on average, more children than generations that precede or follow them. While children of today's older adults tend to have more siblings than older and younger cohorts, they also have more parents who survived into old age than earlier cohorts, and thus more potential occasions to provide care. Both the availability of multiple adult children as potential caregivers and the potential care needs of multiple parents or parents-in-law likely heighten the complexity of care networks and the need to negotiate and navigate multiple relationships, requiring greater coordination of care activities and enhancing opportunities for conflict over the allocation of care responsibilities.


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Endnote Keywords

Adult Children/Caregiving/Family Structure

Endnote ID


Short TitleDivision of Care Among Adult Children
Citation Key5221