Around the same time, advances in health care and life expectancy have made it possible for many adults to live far longer than they used to although not always in good health, and often needing extensive care or assistance.
This study concluded that most middle-aged parents with young adult children are fairly happy to help them out, and they understand that getting started in life is simply more difficult now. Some research has suggested that age 25 is the new 22; that substantially more parents now don't even expect their kids to be financially independent in their early 20s, and don't mind helping them through some difficult times.
But the response to helping adult parents who, at the same time, need increasing amounts of assistance is not as uniformly positive, the study found it can be seen as both a joy and a burden, and in any case was not something most middle-aged adults anticipated.
"With the kids, it's easy," is a general purpose reaction. With aging parents, it isn't.
"My grandparents died younger, so my parents didn't cope with another generation," one study participant said.
Many middle-aged people said it was difficult to make any plans, due to disruptions and uncertainty about a parent's health at any point in time. And most said they we're willing to help their aging parents, but a sense of being time-starved was a frequent theme.
"It brings my heart joy to be able to provide for my mom this way," one study participant said. "There are times when it's a burden and I feel resentful."
The dual demands of children still transitioning to independence, and aging parents who need increasing amounts of care is causing many of the study participants to re-evaluate their own lives. Some say they want to make better plans for their future so they don't pose s
|Contact: Karen Hooker|
Oregon State University