Aging Related Family Roles and Transitions Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1301 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Children

Aging-Related Family Roles and Transitions

As human beings, we need relationships and family connections not only for our physical and financial benefit, but also for our emotional and mental well-being. As we age, however, these relationships and our roles within them necessarily change, just like everything else in life. The effects and impacts of change and aging cannot be denied. They can, however, be managed with sufficient awareness and preparation. Some specific family relationship changes and transitions that relate to aging include the role as parent, as caregiver, and as spouse. Important factors to keep in mind include the fact that gender and marital status may play a role in one's experience of life in either a positive or negative way.

Throughout the different stages of human life, there are changing roles within the family system (Hollis-Sawyer, personal communication, 3/5/2013). This includes the role as parent, which could transfer to the role of grandparent, and back again to what is known as "second parenthood," where grandparents act as custodial carers for grandchildren.

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Such a role is not necessarily custodial, however. Grandparents may play roles as temporary child carers while their adult children are away at work or have outings. This role could be mutually beneficial, where adult children provide financial or other types of support in exchange for grandparents caring for the younger generation. This could also play an important role in the older adult's sense of usefulness and general well-being.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Aging Related Family Roles and Transitions Assignment

According to Stibich (2007), for example, loneliness is an unfortunate but common phenomenon among older people. After years of devoting time to offspring and work, the retirement years can create a situation in which older people are left with a sense of no longer being needed. Adult children leave home to create lives and families of their own, while retirement means that the workplace is no longer in need of the services of the older person. The extra time free from previous responsibilities related to work and raising children could create a sense of emptiness, boredom, and ultimately loneliness. According to Stibich, such a sense of loneliness could even be correlated to a greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease for older persons. Chronic illness and earlier mortality are also common among older people who are no longer active in the lives of their younger family members.

In such cases, loneliness can be effectively deflected by ensuring that older adults remain active members of the family unit. This can be done by means of, as mentioned above, caring for children or even for family pets when an adult child's duties take him or her away from the home and those who need consistent and constant care. Relationships with friends and the children of friends can have similar beneficial effects, helping older people to understand that they are still considered important and vital parts in the lives of others.

In addition, gender may play a role in the changes of roles and relationships within family (Hollis-Sawyer, personal communication, 3/5/2013). Women, for example, could be regarded as default carers in a family situation. As she ages, this assumption may be perpetuated, assuming that she will care for grandchildren or a spouse who is deteriorating. It is, however, important to consider what such an assumption might mean for the woman concerned. She may suffer from age-related health concerns herself, for example. Also, an older woman who is no longer bound to child rearing concerns may want to have more independence or experience self-fulfilment from addressing her own non-family related passions and interests.

The changing roles and relationships as a person ages can have an effect on the family relationships of the aging person. Fountain (2013), for example, describes a situation in which an aging mother may interfere in the lives of her adult children in an unwanted and unrequired way. She could do this by means of providing advice that was not asked… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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