Why Is The Issue Pertinent?
Care of dependent older persons is a salient issue around the world for a number of reasons. Not only are more people surviving to old age due to improved medical care, but greater numbers are living into older age when the incidence of health impairments rises dramatically, increasing the likelihood of the need for support and assistance. Social changes and family lifestyle transformations (e.g., more working women, fewer multigeneration households, more nuclear families, urbanization) have also altered the family's ability to assist older members. Given the likelihood that more adult children will encounter the privileges and demands of filial responsibilities, Victor Cicirelli (1988) coined the concept of filial anxiety to capture the "state of worry or concern about the anticipated decline and death of an aging parent as well as worry or concern about the ability to meet anticipated caregiving needs, either prior to any caregiving or during the provision of care and in anticipation of further parental decline and additional needs for care" (p. 478). With a rapidly aging population, the question arises: Should the responsibility for care of older dependent family members lie with the family or be provided by society in general?