VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Help researchers develop tools for families helping older adults.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Help researchers develop tools for families helping older adults. ThinkStock

Can you help? Research needed in caring for aged parents

MORE study participants are needed for a deep look into issues around the growing number of sons and daughters helping their ageing parents.

Sons and daughters plus sons-in law and daughters-in law caring for an older parent are invited to contact the Family in Later Life research team at Deakin University to discuss participating in the project.

The Federal Government is struggling to come to terms with then enormity of the burgeoning older population. As consequence the pressure is being applied to the children of these older citizens to take on the responsibility of making decisions about the welfare of the parents and in some cases, taking on the direct care of them.

The project team, led by Professor Gery Karantzas, wants to understand how this help is exchanged between older parents and their sons and daughters, whether the parent is still relatively fit and healthy or receiving fulltime care from their son or daughter.

They will be posing questions such as - how do sons and daughters feel about helping out mum and dad, how do older parents feel about having their children help them, and how do the bonds between parents and sons and daughters in later life impact on how help is provided.

The intended outcome is to achieve an understanding in how to support families who are helping older adults in the community.

"This is because the quality of people's relationships during the later years of life can exacerbate the strains of helping or care within families," said Dr Karantzas.

"Family relationships marked by rejection or a sense that one is not good enough can exacerbate negative outcomes including problems with immune functioning and increased risk of depression, anxiety and stress.

"In contrast, family relationships reflecting love and support appeared to decrease these physical and mental health issues. It's as if good family relationships inoculate ageing parents and their sons and daughters from all kinds of physical and emotional problems."

To find out more visit www.fills.org.au or call (03) 9246 8544. All families that take part in either study receive a Coles/Myer certificate.

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