Pathmaking: The Lived Experience of Non-Caregiving Adult Children

By Connie Kartoz and Munira Wells.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 31, 2017 $US5.00

The purpose of this article is to explore the lived experience of adult children of aging parents in the twenty-first century, as technology and extended life span impact the family life course. Sixteen participants were selected through purposive and snowball sampling and interviewed twice each. The sample was 75 percent female, aged thirty to early sixties, all with at least one child, and living on the East Coast of the US. Descriptive phenomenology was used to analyze the transcripts of audiotaped interviews. Analysis revealed that participants experienced a variety of emotions, including sadness, gratitude, joy, worry, and guilt, as they engaged in activities with their parent(s). Spending time together, noticing changes to physical and emotional status, recalling the past by considering how previous generations experienced end-of-life, working with siblings, and connecting grandchildren to grandparents were major activities. Ultimately, these activities and emotions allowed participants to accept the present and create a potential path for the future. This knowledge can improve the ability of providers to increase the quality of anticipatory guidance and guide researchers in exploring whether and how pathmaking influences family health outcomes.

Keywords: Pathmaking, Intergenerational Relations, Anticipatory Loss

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.37-53. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 31, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 654.378KB)).

Dr. Connie Kartoz

Assistant Professor, Nursing, College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey, USA

Dr. Munira Wells

Assistant Professor, Nursing, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, USA