Families over the Life Course Gero 408-4. Mid-Life and Aging Families- Introduction All of us have had some kind of family experience and this mostly.
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Presentation on theme: "Families over the Life Course Gero 408-4. Mid-Life and Aging Families- Introduction All of us have had some kind of family experience and this mostly."— Presentation transcript:
Mid-Life and Aging Families- Introduction All of us have had some kind of family experience and this mostly falls between the extremes of positive, supportive, growth enhancing, emotionally strong to more toxic and destructive and negative. Families often cover several generations and follow different trajectories due to social and economic circumstances. For convenience we will consider older people in families as those over the age of 60, understanding the substantial variations we will encounter
Introduction What is a family and how is it constructed? Look at a family genogram and draw out your own. Modern families are breaking traditional family patterns such as the nuclear family model. Divorce, co-habitation, single parenting, blended families have changed the modern concept of the family. To be inclusive we should consider the never married, the childless and the aged family. The process of aging, is associated with transitions in family life.
Introduction Families therefore do not take one fixed form. For the aged however, continuity is important, and current relationships are so often shaped by past patterns. Some long term relationships are lost through death and others are gained by the birth of children. Retirement and widowhood often lead to changes in family re-organization. Changes in health or cognitive decline have significant effects on family life and structure.
The place of older people in families Myths-the elderly are neglected and abandoned by their families. The older person was more respected in the past What was the impact of high mortality rates and lower life expectancy in the past? How many families actually experienced multiple generations living together. In countries like Canada, what was the impact of immigration on family structures?
Older people in families What is the impact of gender, class and economic conditions on families and living arrangements Could older women become heads of households if the male died and what did they do if that was not possible? Today the elderly living alone is due to improved economic conditions, but research shows that rising incomes cannot explain the decline in co-residence Examine the power of land and property in the past and how that applies in modern society.
The aged in families What has been the impact of geographic moves, economic independence, changes in status and class due to education and improved income? Who takes care of or supports elderly parents in our modern families? For parents to live with children does not always indicate a happier and more desirable situation-Discuss The increase in state funded pension and support programs changed the nature of family life for the elderly
Present Realities Today families are considered “modified extended”, dormant emotional ties can mobilized when needed or desired. Longevity extends the time the old have time to spend in family relationships. Parents can expect to know their children well into their middle age and for some into old age. Some key factors to consider-age of marriage, age at birth of first child, increase accessibility through electronic means and travel.
Present Realities Longevity may increase family stress as adult children act more like peers to their parents than children. Older people however can now share more life transitions with their children and create more empathy between generations. Ideals of family life have changed over time. Aging has changed and the nature of being old has changed Is the modern family more resilient? Discusss
Family Ties What does good family life look like? What are the likely impacts on the family if you lived through the first and second world wars or the depression of the thirties? Modern family members may have many different views on what constitutes a successful, happy family. For example-the changing roles of women in society, the concept of marriage, the frequency of divorce and remarriage. Continuity and change must be seen from a variety of viewpoints.
Assumptions First, understanding family ties of older people requires examining relationships as entities in their own right. Second, family membership should be defined broadly and not restricted to traditional notions Third, patterns and arrangements of social life, encourage and constrain individual action, but do not determine what individuals do. Social structure has a large impact on family life. This includes, gender, class, race, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation.
Assumptions Fourth, the negotiations of family relationships takes place in the context of social structural arrangements that are imbued with cultural views of the ideal family and ideal old age.
Theoretical Orientation Life Course Perspective-a long term view of exchanges taking place in family relationships. LCP links experiences of later life to earlier life stages and old family members to young ones. Key points-aging is a bio-social-psychological process from birth to death. Individual experience is shaped by historical context and social, political and economic conditions which create constraints and opportunities.
Life Course Four T’s of life course-Trajectories, Transitions, Turning points and Timing Trajectory–long term pattern of stability and change Trajectories are pathways and include various social domains-education, family, work. Transitions-points along the life course trajectory when particular changes take place (Erickson’s stages). Turning points-dramatic transitions which mark a substantial change in direction
Life Course Timing-historical time different cohorts negotiate life courses. Expectations as to when certain events should take place. This changes over time and there are cultural influences which affect appropriate sequencing. Look at the concepts of linked lives and reciprocal influences-page18 Life course theory is best used in conjunction with other constructs-page 18-19
Critical Perspective This perspective makes explicit some of the links which are suggested in LCT-the concept of age status. But this is not truly deterministic and shaped by institutional arrangements. There may be too much focus on the micro level of analysis regarding the action of individuals and the immediate factors which influence them (page 19 bottom/page 20)
Links to other perspectives Feminism-challenged family life and structured gender relations and social constructions. This has led to closer reviews of the inter-relationships between gender and age and aging, health, family relations, sexuality and social power constructions. Involvement in family relationships is a core source of one’s sense of self and place in the world. Addressing the needs of families and older persons through a social policy lens