Grandparents' care and assistance to the elderly parents: is there a general tendency to care?

Lada Železná, Masaryk University

Previous research has shown that people of middle-aged generation are the major providers of various support to their children, grandchildren and also elderly parents. Furthermore, middle-aged people are now expected to stay longer on the labor market than in the past. These multiple roles of the central generation raise questions about the potential overloading and conflict between roles within and outside the family. The presented study investigates if people who provide any assistance or help to their elderly parents tend to care for their grandchildren less than grandparents who don´t support their parents. Data from the four waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) are analyzed to test the effect of help which is provided to elderly parents on the care of grandchildren. Surprisingly, the results do not show that the help or care of parents constraint the care of grandchildren. On the contrary, people who support their parents are also more likely to care for grandchildren. Moreover, the tendency to care for grandchildren is even higher for people who help their parents on a regular basis. The association holds true after controlling for the main characteristics of grandparents and grandchildren. Results suggest that the role conflict between caring responsibilities is not common but the responsibilities rather tend to cumulate and represent the strong sense of family solidarity.

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Presented in Session 53: Grandparenting