Family Communication in Later Life

Authored by: Jake Harwood , Christine E.e Rittenour , Mei-Chen Lin

The Routledge Handbook of Family Communication

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415881982
eBook ISBN: 9780203848166
Adobe ISBN: 9781136946370


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The study of communication in older adulthood has grown exponentially in the past 20 years. From a small body of pioneering work in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the field now boasts a large cadre of active researchers, numerous textbooks, courses at a large number of universities, and broad recognition as a valid area of study. Family is as central in older adulthood as any other period of the lifespan. Older adults are often recognized as grandparents and great-grandparents, but they are also parents, spouses, children, and even grandchildren. They are sometimes the stereotypical storehouses of family history and sage advice, but they communicate in a myriad of other ways within families. They are caregivers and care-recipients within families, but their contributions to family life extend beyond their roles in the caregiving process.

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