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Family Caregivers of Older Adults: A Life Span Perspective

When faced with changes in physical health, cognition, and daily functioning, older adults most frequently rely on family members for instrumental support and more intense care activities. Using a life span perspective as our guiding framework, we identified several developmental themes across the late-life caregiving research including individual well-being, relational effects, and caregiver growth. In addition, we examined the effectiveness of education and intervention programs as well as policy initiatives designed to assist middle-aged and older family members care for their aging relatives. The multiple dimensions of, influences on, and the variability in response to the caregiving experience presents multilayered challenges that can best be addressed through the intentional integration of sound research investigations, practice initiatives, and policy directives.

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Family Relations

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