Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS) 54021
Dr. Maureen Blankemeyer , CFLE
Caregiving: Individual and Family Coping
Abstract The specific purpose of this research paper is to carefully scrutinize the current literature and to evaluate the risks and benefits of adult children c children caring for their elderly parents. Also and just as important, it is imperative to take a good look at the potential health consequences for other family members and the overall wellbeing of the whole family unit. Numerous studies will be cited and evaluated in the hopes of coming up with some useful ideas for health care professionals.
Introduction Taking care of the elderly is a top priority in gerontology, nursing, and our government as the needs of our continually aging society increases in population. Taking into account the “baby boomers” and modern advances in medicine and technology, our country has a big task just meeting the needs of seniors. Eighty percent of all types of care offered seniors are provided by family members and this is accomplished primarily by the spouse or adult daughters (Tennstedt, 1999). It is very obvious that illness of any family member is stressful, and the purpose of this paper is to review focuses on just how taking care of elderly parents can affect the health and wellbeing of the family. The overwhelming consensus in the literature is built on the strong support of empirical data and the basic conclusion that caregiving can be a health issue (Schulz & Beach). But, the overall health effects on the spouse, siblings and children are still under study. Current research on family caregiving has been focused on the person who has principal responsibility for the elderly parent. At least this is the case usually. This approach, as it appears, has a tendency to obscure the involvement of other family members. And one of the very few studies that broke this gap was done by Lieberman and Fisher (1995) and they postulated negative effects on both physical and mental health of the caregiver’s spouse and children. So, due to the lack of any direct evidence, only inferences could be speculated from the health history of the caregiver’s family and the effects of the health issues from the principal caregiver. The empirics and details of family care of the elderly has been supported by the general stress model, which envisions family caregiving as being negative or as a burden (Warnes, 19993). In this citation, the current train of thought on the benefits of caring for the elderly is included to offset the negativity. Adding to that notion is a life course perspective for both individual and family development. This also counterbalances the negative aspect of caregiving that is so prevalent in the readings and by the same token, it adds needed structure in the strategies of health care professionals.
What is Family Health? Family health can mean a lot of different things, but for the purpose of this literature review it is the sum total of physical and emotional health of a typical family. The life course theory on parental care is the basic idea is essential to understanding family health over time. Families signify groups of individuals connected across the lifespan, in which their efforts are shifted to meet new demands, for example, childcare or the care of the elderly. When a situation like caring for an elderly family member comes into focus, family health is the balanced or optimum comfort level of the family and this means that the needs of the care recipient can be met without a negative impact on other family members. An important caregiving event is also a shared family event, and the positions and experiences of all the family members needs careful consideration in the necessary balancing of the family resources to remedy the crisis or needs of one particular family member. Defining health to