Aging in a family context

Topics: Family, Marriage, Kinship Pages: 3 (412 words) Published: February 4, 2014
March 9, 2010

SOCIAL and DEMOGRAPHIC changes since 1950’s have shaped ‘family’ Increase longevity, decrease fertility, “beanpole family” (people are living longer) Diversity in family forms, norms (ex. mother, father with children, single families) Continuity & change in family roles & relationships

Family is ‘fluid’: includes present & past members (people move in and out of your family through many ways)

What is family?
“A relatively permanent group of people who are related by blood, or marriage, and who live in the same household.”

Multi-Generational Families:
Lengthy family history
Interrelationships between/among generations complex and varied ‘Ebb and flow’ in family relations over time (within and across generations) **************a good relationship with a member of the family

‘Family Decline’ Hypothesis:
Some argument decline in family structure and function since 1960 ‘break up of nuclear family’
Evidence: increase in divorce, single-parent families, child poverty

Problem with “decline in family” hypothesis: doesn’t recognize.. Diversity in families
Support function of grandparents, other family members
Multi-generational bonds becoming more important (longer years of ‘shared lives’) Strength/resiliency of families

“Longer years of shared lives across generations”
Challenges: more years of care giving, more years of conflict in difficult ties, more complex family Benefits: more older parents/grandparents for stability and continuity over time, more kin for help and support, support within and across generations

Today’s family’s are…
Complex and diverse
Changed and changing
BUT: family and the roles of older family members have NOT declined

Marriage in Later life
Most Canadians marry at least once
Many stay married until widowhood

Benefits of Marriage in later life
Social support*
Financial resources
Larger social networks
Linked to long life (men*)
Most report martial...
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