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The ageing of parent carers: classed and gendered care-giving patterns at higher ages

Henz, Ursula (2021) The ageing of parent carers: classed and gendered care-giving patterns at higher ages. Ageing and Society. ISSN 0144-686X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0144686X21000799


Increasing longevity has led to a rising number of adult children who are at higher ages when they provide care for their parents. Drawing on the lifecourse approach and exchange theory, the paper addresses similarities and differences in parent care between late middle-aged and older adult children. The study uses the UK Household Longitudinal Study, restricting the analysis sample to individuals aged 50 and older with a living parent or parent-in-law. It presents multivariate models to examine differences between late middle-aged (aged 50–64) and older (aged 65+) children in being a parent carer, providing intensive care, the duration of parent care and providing selected types of help to parents. The involvement in parent care increases among women up to the end of their seventh decade of life and for men up to their eighth decade of life. At higher ages, the proportion of parent carers decreases more strongly for women than men. Older carers have shorter care-giving episodes than younger carers, but there is no significant difference in the type of care provided. Even past retirement age, parent care remains classed and gendered, with women from lower social classes having the highest likelihood of providing intensive parent care in old age. Having dependent children or living in a non-marital union depress the likelihood of caring for a parent even past retirement age.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 05 May 2021 10:39
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2021 14:09

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