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Family Matters No. 50 - June 1998

Later Life Parents Helping Adult Children

Christine Millward

Abstract

The relationship between older parents and their adult children can be set in the broader context of the family as a support resource. Various types of support are provided to adult children by parents who are in their fifties and sixties. In this article the author draws on findings from the Later Life Families Study of the Australian Institute of Family Studies in order to examine reasons for the prolonged dependency of some adult children on their parents. She discusses parents' involvement with adult children, adult children's living arrangements, and the personal characteristics of parents and children, including their age, occupation, gender, marital status and parental status. The author concludes that while there is a common perception of adult children being supports for their ageing parents, many of the older parents interviewed for this study, while not elderly, were an important support for their adult children.

The relationship between older parents and their adult children can be set in the broader context of the family as a support resource. Various types of support are provided to adult children by parents who are in their fifties and sixties. In this article the author draws on findings from the Later Life Families Study of the Australian Institute of Family Studies in order to examine reasons for the prolonged dependency of some adult children on their parents. She discusses parents' involvement with adult children, adult children's living arrangements, and the personal characteristics of parents and children, including their age, occupation, gender, marital status and parental status. The author concludes that while there is a common perception of adult children being supports for their ageing parents, many of the older parents interviewed for this study, while not elderly, were an important support for their adult children.

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