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J Long Term Care Adm. 1990 Summer;18(2):16-21.

Family care giving: what price love?

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  • 1St. Louis University Hospital, MO.


The role played by family care givers is critical to the well-being of their impaired elderly family members and to the well-being of society as a whole. Studies indicate that a key determinant of institutional placement is the breakdown of an older person's informal caregiving system. Given the demographics of our aging population and the medical advancements of recent years, the giving and receiving of care is an issue that will affect most individuals' daily lives during some part of the life cycle. The responsibilities for giving care will continue to fall more and more disproportionately upon elderly spouses who themselves may have health problems and upon daughters and daughters-in-law who often have work commitments outside the home and young children in the home. Giving care often results in financial, physical, social, and emotional problems and stresses. Current demographic trends such as marriage at a later age, the increasing number of divorces, fewer and later births, and the rising number of women in the work force will only serve to complicate the role conflicts and exacerbate the stresses of care giving on family members. In order for family care giving to continue--indeed, to raise it to a more productive and satisfactory level--a range of supportive fiscal, medical, and social services must be provided to families. National public policy must begin to address the needs of families by supporting options other than institutional care for the disabled elderly.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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