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Faculty Sponsor

Margaret M. Manoogian

Abstract

This qualitative study focused on types of support, relationship quality, and future care plans among 10 older mother-adult daughter dyads (N = 20). Guided by the lifecourse perspective, the authors examined how mother-daughter relationships were renegotiated across the life course; focusing on the later stages of the life course when support exchanges and future care plans may be needed for older mothers. Emotional and instrumental supports were exchanged between all dyads regardless of relationship quality, with only emotionally close dyads exchanging financial support. The flow of support was predominantly downward, although it was more reciprocal in dyads with mothers in poor health. Most dyads had emotionally close relationships and had assumptions for future care, most often informal care; only 1 dyad had concrete plans. Results indicate that mothers may be reluctant to discuss future health constraints and daughters may be less inclined to consider future caregiving responsibilities. One potential outcome that may emerge is that the care that gets put into place is not the care that older mothers may have preferred. More resources are needed to help families discuss future support needs. Older women who are most likely to need care from adult children, typically daughters, may especially benefit from educational programs that include their family members.

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