ERIC Number: ED173684
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov-16
Positive Consequences of Institutionalization: Solidarity Between Elderly Parents and Their Middle-Aged Children.
Smith, Kristen Falde; Bengtson, Vern L.
This research questions the frequent observation that elderly persons in long-term care institutions are isolated from their families, and that institutionalization is the final step in the breakdown of family relations. Data consisted of open-ended interviews with institutionalized elderly parents and with the child most involved with the parent at the time of placement. The data suggests six general patterns reflecting consequences for family relationships as a result of institutionalization: renewed closeness and strengthening of family ties (30%); discovery of love and affection (15%); continuation of closeness (25%); continuation of separateness (20%); quantity without quality interactions (10%); and abdication--institution as a dumping ground. Thus the most prevalent consequences was that of a renewed closeness and strengthening of family ties. This was attributed to a variety of factors. The second most frequent consequence was that of a continuation of family closeness. Together these two consequences, as seen by both generations, represented over half of all families interviewed. These findings suggest that 24-hour institutional care for the elderly parent can support and often strengthen family relationships, especially when relations between generations have been placed under stress by the needs of the older member. Public policy and practice should encourage and exploit such consequences. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference of the Gerontological Society (30th, San Francisco, California, November, 1978) ; Best copy available