Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Aging Parents > Getting Along with an Aging Mom

Getting Along with an Aging Mom

Researcher Alexis J. Walker asserts that caregiving for a parent does not develop suddenly after an era of intergenerational independence and the onset of need. Rather there are many examples of assistance given prior to that time in simple acts of sending left over food to a mother's home, purchasing items for them in the store, running errands, accompanying them to the doctor, and many more. For some mothers and daughters, interaction after loss of independence can be similar to healthier time periods in their relationship.

Building Blocks

Intergenerational independence refers to individuals who belong to different generations and live as independent, autonomous persons during a specific period of time.

The Mother-Daughter Relationships That Fair Best

According to Walker, how mother and daughter feel about giving and receiving care is dependent upon the quality of their earlier intergenerational relationship when each lived independent lives. Here is what Walker found:

  1. Daughters who felt close to their mother during the period of intergenerational independence experience less frustration and anxiety when it comes time to giving care.
  2. Mothers who feel close to their daughters do not exhibit as much anger as those moms who are not as close to their daughters when the time comes for them to need their [daughters'] help.
  3. Daughters who were part of pairs of mothers and daughters who thought of themselves as good friends found the caregiving relationship to be rewarding. They had fewer conflicts, expressed concern for each other, respected one another's autonomy, viewed each other as adults, and tried to maintain the mother's independence.
  4. Ambivalent pairs of mothers and daughters who expressed both positive and negatives in the intergenerational relationship did not find the period of caregiving as rewarding. They experienced more conflict. Daughters felt that their mothers did not demonstrate a concern for them, respect their autonomy, or appreciate their efforts.
  5. Moms and daughters whose younger relationship was full of conflict and individual focus had the least satisfying interaction during the caregiving era. Daughters did not find caregiving rewarding but felt it was a heavy burden.

More on: Aging Parents


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

mother’s day cards & crafts

Let your kids
spoil you with



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!