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Aging improves parent, child relationships, research shows
Date:11/30/2007

ty and their own successful parenting.

A 72-year-old mother of a 40-year-old man said, "He bought a house. He has a significant other. He is busy. He works. He is very self-sufficient, and I am proud of him."

Fingerman said almost half of participants reported changes in the relationship, often related to tense interactions involving parental health.

"Some children reported pestering their parents more about health issues and being unsure if parents were ignoring them," Fingerman said. "While we expected that children might feel demanded upon or stressed by their parents' health declines, most of the participants focused on positive changes, such as trying harder to spend time together or talking more or feeling closer and appreciated."

Children were more likely to refer to declines in parental health (nearly half of adult children participating compared to just over a third of parents) than their parents. Both sides talked about increased assistance from children and the emotions associated with that, Fingerman said.

Fingerman said the research gives hope to parents and their adult children who are trying to adjust to the new demands parental aging can have on relationships.

"We must realize that parents don't go from being middle-aged to old and helpless," Fingerman said. "Parents and children are adjusting relatively well to the fact that parents are just not capable in the ways they once were."

Fingerman's current research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, examines the ways in which adults ages 40-60 help to meet the needs of both their grown children and elderly parents. The study looks at behaviors like offering advice, solving problems and performing needed tasks.


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Contact: Tanya Brown
tanyabrown@purdue.edu
765-494-2079
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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