Abstract

As the pressure mounts to reduce the public costs of supporting rapidly aging societies, responsibility for supporting elderly people will increasingly fall on their family members. This essay explores the family's capacity to respond to these growing challenges. In particular, we examine how family change and growing inequality pose special problems in developed nations, especially the United States. This essay mentions a series of studies supported by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society that aim to examine the future of intergenerational exchange. We focus particularly on adults who have dependent and young-adult children and who must also care for elderly parents, a fraction of the population that will grow substantially in the coming twenty-five years.

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