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What is eldercare? How can it affect families?

Eldercare refers to the care of older adults, often by their adult children. Those supporting elders take on a wide range of caregiving responsibilities like helping to support health appointments, nutrition, finances, and household management. Caring for older adults in poor health, particularly those living with dementia also involves significant emotional labour. When families engage in eldercare, the additional and ongoing demands on time and emotional energy can be difficult to manage.

How does eldercare affect PSP families?

Benefits and challenges of eldercare

Many families care for elderly family members who need assistance with daily living. This is a choice they make which has many rewards. The additional responsibilities, however, can be underestimated. This can be particularly challenging for PSP families who are faced with irregular work schedules and high job demands.


  • Intergenerational connections
  • Peace of mind
  • Strengthened family bonds
  • Demonstration of love and affection


  • Increased family responsibilities
  • Potential conflicts with work
  • Worry and anxiety
  • Added household expense

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References for this page (click to expand)

Cattanach, L., & Tebes, J. K. (1991). The nature of elder impairment and its impact on family caregivers’ health and psychosocial functioning. The Gerontologist, 31(2), 246–255. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/31.2.246  

Chassin, L., Macy, J. T., Seo, D. C., Presson, C. C., & Sherman, S. J. (2010). The association between membership in the sandwich generation and health behaviors: A longitudinal study. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 38–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2009.06.001  

Duxbury, L., Halinski, M., & Stevenson, M. (2022). Something’s Gotta Give: The relationship between time in eldercare, time in childcare, and employee wellbeing. Journal of Aging and Health, 34(6–8), 1101–1116. https://doi.org/10.1177/08982643221092876  

Duxbury, L., & Higgins, C. (2012). Caring for and about those who serve: Work-life conflict and employee wellbeing within Canada’s police. Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. 

Herron, R. V., Funk, L. M., & Spencer, D. (2019). Responding the “wrong way”: The emotion work of caringfor a family member with dementia. The Gerontologist, 59(5), e470–e478. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz047

Riley, L. D., & Bowen, C. P. (2005). The sandwich generation: Challenges and coping strategies of multigenerational families. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 13, 52-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1066480704270099