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Contacts between elderly parents and their children in four European countries: current patterns and future prospects

Cecilia Tomassini, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Stamatis Kalogirou, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Emily Grundy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Frequency of contacts with the family represent an indicator of the strength of intergenerational exchange and potential support for older people. Although the availability of children clearly represents a constraint on potential family support, the extent of interaction with and support received from children, depends on factors other than demographic availability alone. In this paper we examined the effects of socio-economic and demographic variables on weekly contacts with children in Great Britain, Italy, Finland and the Netherlands. Our results shows the different level of interaction between older parents and children among the countries considered. A multivariate analysis shows how the effects of demographic and socio-economic variables vary from country to country. An analysis of possible future scenarios combining the different national structures in the variables considered and their effects on contacts with children are also included.

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Presented in Session 13: The future of the elderly