How is help between family generations reasoned?

A1 Hämäläinen, H. (2016). How is help between family generations reasoned? Help provided by baby boomers to their elderly parents and adult children in the light of theme interviews. [Original title: Kuinka perhesukupolvien välistä apua perustellaan? Suurten ikäluokkien iäkkäille vanhemmilleen ja aikuisille lapsilleen antama apu teemahaastattelujen valossa.] Gerontologia 30 (2), 50–62.

This article explores the help given by Finnish baby boomers (born 1945–1950) to their elderly parents and adult children. The subjects of this study are those baby boomers who have at least one adult child and parent alive. Research questions are: What kind of help do the baby boomer interviewees give to their parents and children? How do the baby boomer interviewees reason the help they give to their parents and children? The data consist of 22 theme interviews which were collected as a part of General transmissions in Finland -project. Interviewees have helped their parents and children in various ways. The content of help also differs depending on whether it is given to the parents or children. Based on the interviews, the differences in the forms of provided support are related to the different life situations of the parents and children. A clear example of this linkage between life situation and certain type of support, is the childcare help given to children who have their own children. Interviewees reason the help they give to their parents with the parents’ needs for support. According to the interviews the needs of adult children are also an essential reason to support them but in addition interviewees emphasize their strong willingness to actively help their children, also regardless of children’s needs. This study offers new knowledge on the contents of intergenerational help and on how family members are reasoning the help they are giving.

Need-based support or help according to the possibilities?

A1 Hämäläinen, H (2015). Need-based support or help according to the possibilities? Care and practical help given by baby boomers to their elderly parents and adult children. [Original title: Apua tarpeiden vai mahdollisuuksien mukaan? Suurten ikäluokkien iäkkäille vanhemmilleen sekä aikuisille lapsilleen antamaan hoiva- ja käytännön apuun yhteydessä olevat tekijät.] Janus 23 (4), 387-404.

This article explores care and practical help given by Finnish baby boomers to their elderly parents and adult children. In this context care for adult children means childcare help provided by baby boomers (i.e. grandparental childcare). This study asks: 1) Are the opportunities to help associated with the care and practical help given by baby boomers to their elderly parents and adult children? 2) Are the needs of elderly parents and adult children associated with the care and practical help given by baby boomers? The data from Finnish baby boomers were collected by postal questionnaires in 2012 as part of the Generational transmissions in Finland project (n=2278). According to the results, care and practical help to elderly parents are primarily associated with the parents’ need for support. Instead, care and practical help for adult children are associated – along with the needs – more widely with the baby boomers’ opportunities to help.

A chain of generations

C1 Haavio-Mannila, E., Majamaa, K., Tanskanen, A.O., Hämäläinen, H., Karisto, A., Rotkirch, A. & Roos, J.P. (2009). A Chain of Generations. Baby Boomers and Cross-Generational Interaction in Finland. [Original title: Sukupolvien ketju. Suuret ikäluokat ja sukupolvien välinen vuorovaikutus Suomessa.] Helsinki: The Social Insurance Institution of Finland.

The report examines intergenerational assistance and interaction between generations in contemporary Finland.  Three family generations are analyzed on the basis of survey and qualitative data: baby boomers, their children, and their parents. Data were collected in 2007 through a mail survey of baby boomers and their adult children and through a small number of structured face-to-face interviews with their parents. We asked about the amounts and frequencies of the mental support, practical help and financial assistance that the respondent provided and received. We also conducted 38 in-depth, thematic interviews with selected survey respondents. The theoretical approach combines sociological family studies and evolutionary theory of kin altruism and conflict. We ask how the three generations studied help each other, what factors explain helping behavior, what differences exist between helping kin and non-kin, and what kind of gender and family specific differences can be found. We also explore attitudes toward helping, satisfaction with received assistance and conflicts related to helping. In the in-depth thematic interviews, we look at different models of helping. Results show that Finns help a wide range of relatives but that the net flow of assistance and especially financial assistance goes downward in the kin line; baby boomers give more support to their children than to their parents. Differences between generations are related to age and phase of the life cycle. Maternal relatives were most likely to help each other and daughters received slightly more help than sons. Respondents usually receive help when they ask for it and are satisfied with the support received. Whether or not regarded as an obligation, helping relatives is largely a matter of course for the respondents. Despite the fact that help between relatives is generous, few respondents perceive assisting aged relatives to be a duty for family members.

Do children get more help than parents?

A1 Hämäläinen, H. & Tanskanen, A.O. (2014). Do children get more help than parents? Practical help and care provided by baby boomers to their children and parents. [Original title: Autetaanko lapsia enemmän kuin vanhempia? Suurten ikäluokkien lapsilleen ja vanhemmilleen antama käytännön apu ja hoiva.] Yhteiskuntapolitiikka 79 (4), 365–374.

This article explores the provision of care and practical help by baby boomers to their elderly parents and their children. We are interested to find out whether baby boomers give more help to their adult children than to their parents. The data were collected by postal questionnaire in 2012 as part of the Generational Transmissions in Finland project. Analysis of the provision of practical help was limited to respondents with at least one child and parent alive. Analysis of the provision of care additionally included respondents with at least one grandchild. The results show that baby boomers provide practical help more often to their parents than to their children. However, they provide more help in the form of care to their children (looking after grandchildren) than to their parents. The provision of practical help is associated with distance between places of residence and perceived health: those who live closer by offer more practical help than those who live further away, and those with good self-rated health provide practical help more often than those with poorer self-rated health. The provision of care is associated with the respondent’s gender and assessment of their parents’ health: women provide care more often than men, and those who rate at least one of their parent’s health as poor provide more care than those who think their parents’ health is at least moderate. According to the findings care is provided more often downwards than upwards in the chain of generations, while practical help is provided more often upwards than downwards.

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