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Keywords:

  • caregiving;
  • help-giving;
  • intergenerational exchanges;
  • reciprocity

The help that elders provide to their adult children has received limited attention in the caregiving literature. To address this gap, data were drawn from two samples of caregiving couples: 63 focus group participants and 618 survey respondents. Survey results indicated that help from aging parents is associated with a complex pattern of benefits and costs. Focus group data identified the kinds of help provided by older parents (i.e., financial, emotional, child care, and household tasks) and illuminated why caregivers experience such help as a mixed blessing. Suggestions are offered for practitioners who work with caregivers.