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Step-Families Involved In Elder Care

Today’s families are no longer just mom, dad and the kids; in many cases there are blended and step-families and this can lead to the need for conversations like “Who’s going to care for Mom and Dad as they age?” This is especially true if a couple had been married for decades and the in-laws were an integral part of their lives – it’s not always a relationship that is easily dismissed.

What role do step-children play in providing care for aging loved ones? It’s been shown that close to 40% of American adults will have a step-relative in their lives and this may mean they will be involved in formulating a care plan for an aging relative. What does this mean? If your family has a step situation, you will likely be called up on to participate in family meetings as it relates to care.

In a research study, entitled, “Changing Families, Changing Responsibilities,” it was noted that many step-families feel an “informal debt” as it relates to the family members and because of that they may want to be involved with their care. If, for example, a child had grown up with a step parent, that bond doesn’t end simply because of a divorce or other family separation and if the child and step-parent remain close, the child will want to be involved and help care for the step-parent.

Just as geography and distance may not play too major a role in caring for a biological parent, it may not figure into the care of a step-parent.  Caregiving takes many forms and whether you are a step-child or a step-parent, asking for assistance in caring for an aging relative, especially one who wants to age in place, is a burden made easier when accepting assistance from anyone involved who loves the elderly relative in need of help.


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