Providing For Parents: Is It a Family Affair?

Esther M. Friedman, University of California, Los Angeles
Judith A. Seltzer, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper considers how siblings coordinate care, both at a point in time and over the longer run. Because few studies include information from siblings about their relationships with their parents and each other, it has been difficult to determine whether children coordinate care for their parents. We look within families and explore whether and how siblings share caregiving responsibilities, asking: What characteristics of siblings and their families predict whether siblings take turns helping parents? What factors affect the coordination of care as parents age? We use data on families with more than one child from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey, a panel study of 1957 high school graduates and siblings. Preliminary findings show that nearly forty percent of parents receive help from more than one child in the form of time, money or emotional support. Our findings also suggest that daughters coordinate care that they and their siblings provide parents.

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Presented in Session 10: Generational Exchanges and Relationships