Background: Late-life repartnering among functionally independent adults, resulting in complex stepfamilies, has emerged with increased life expectancy, and is likely to develop further. It is perceived as a chance for renewal and autonomy, enabling a release from dependency on offspring, whereas caregiving is associated with dependency and becoming a burden on family members. Thus, the experiences of late-life repartnering and caregiving are opposites. Using a life course perspective, we explore partner caregiving expectations in late-life repartnering from the viewpoints of three generations in complex stepfamilies in Israel, a society characterized by collectivist alongside individualist familial norms. Methods: Using criterion sampling, we recruited 19 stepfamily units (38 families) of functionally independent persons who repartnered at the official retirement age or older and had offspring from a lifelong marriage that ended in widowhood or divorce. One-hundred-seven semi-structured qualitative interviews with older partners, their adult children, and grandchildren were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis was based on grounded theory principles and dyadic analysis adapted to families. Results: Two themes emerged: caregiving commitment and decision making. Issues included: influences of partner-caregiving history; chronic versus temporary caregiving situations; caregiving strengthening partner relationships and influencing stepfamily relationships, and moral dilemmas, such as what happens when fun - a motive for repartnering - is no longer possible. Could abandonment become an option? Conclusions: From a life course perspective, caregiving, as on-time, and late-life repartnering, as off-time, highlight the lack of norms and the need to establish normative behavior for caregiving in late-life repartnering in diverse cultural contexts along with its reservations.
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - 1 Sep 2016|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© International Psychogeriatric Association 2016.
- aging families
- cultural aspect
- late-life repartnering
- parent-child relationships
- primary partner relationships
- qualitative analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health