Aging and the Family
Family relationships are among the most enduring that people experience during increasingly long lives. Our roles as sons and daughters, wives and husbands, parents, siblings, and grandparents (and beyond) link many of us to a strong network of others with whom we share history, tradition, and responsibilities.
For your initial post in this discussion, reflect on your role as a human service and public service leader and explain your thoughts on the following:
- As you reflect on your family structure, such as the number of siblings in various generations/historical periods and ages at marriage and death, what larger social changes in the institution of the family in later life do you see reflected in the history of your family?
- Thinking about younger adults today (in their 20s), what changes in the timing of household events, family norms, and individual behaviors are likely to differentiate their cohort experiences of family in later life from those of individuals in their 70s today?
- When families provide care for an ailing or frail older relative, what supports would you recommend as a human service and public service leader to promote family caregiving to shift the balance toward greater rewards?
Family in Later Life: Work and Retirement
Currently, there is continued discrimination against older workers—a corporate mentality more interested in creating incentives to retire older workers than in developing them as a resource for the company. It remains unclear, however, whether the coming labor market will be an ally or a nemesis of older workers. As contingent labor grows, will more workers entering the labor force encounter lives as employees regularly moving between jobs and risking a pensionless future? Individual, corporate, and societal decisions regarding the future of employment carry the potential for dramatically reshaping the way we organize the time and sequencing of events in our lives. This in turn will impact the family in later life.
As a human service and public service leader, how can you prepare yourself for working with the family in later life? In the discussion, integrate the role of a human service and public service leader and address the following:
- What are three social problems where the family in later life might help society? What might these programs do, and what challenges would they face?
- How do work and retirement impact a family in later life when pensions become less reliable and baby boomers show some hesitancy to retire?
- What would be a good retirement, and does society currently enable a family in later life opportunities to achieve a safe retirement? How does this impact a family?