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The changing nature of family relationships in middle and later life: parent-caring and the mid-life developmental opportunity

Demographic trends have created a situation in which relationships between family members endure over long periods of time, sometimes in ways that are as yet undefined by psychological theories. Clinical social workers are called upon to help these families. This paper examines how these relationships are affected in middle-class families when elders become frail and need care, and families become “stuck.” Current literature about adult and later life development as well as clinical examples will be cited to illuminate this discussion. The paper will define the developmental tasks that mid-life adults and elders must traverse to manage the demands care giving poses. Optimally, reciprocity and intergenerational understanding can result from careful clinical management of this life crisis within particular populations that are not burdened by concerns about financial survival.

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Additional Titles
Smith College Studies in Social Work

Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
ISBN/ISSN
1553-0426;0037-7317
Resource Database
Social care online
Publication Year
2005
Issue Number
2
Volume Number
75
Start Page
103-120