33 Pages

Principles of Therapeutic Intervention with Elders and Their Families

with Elders and Their s. Nieto

Despite the persistence of popular myths about families abandoning elders and abdicating their responsibilities for caregiving, research over the past decade has demonstrated repeatedly the promi-

nent and decisive involvement of family members in the care of elders (Brubaker, 1985; Cicirelli, 1981; Litwak, 1985; Sauer and Coward, 1985; Stephens and Christianson, 1986). Families provide care to elders in a variety of forms and under a number of different circumstances. There is evidence that family members are paramount in providing assistance, when needed, with both the most basic tasks of daily living such as eating, dressing, bathing or toileting (Stoller and Earl, 1983) as well as with a broader set of supportive activities such as managing money, shopping, housework or preparing meals (Coward, 1987; Van Nostrand, 1984). Moreover, family members are conspicuous among both those caregivers who live in the same household as dependent elders (Soldo and Myllyluoma, 1983) as well as those who provide support and assistance to elders who continue to live independently (Stephens and Christianson, 1986).