Older Adults and Their Families

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Physical Therapy


Physical therapists and other health professionals caring for aging adults routinely inquire about the availability of a spouse or adult children for assistance with home exercise programs or with basic and instrumental activities of daily living. In this chapter, readers will explore family as a dynamic system and a context for individual development from a life span perspective, as well as models of family interaction that may provide insights that enhance the efficacy of our care. Readers will explore the dimensions of caregiving and care-sharing roles, as well as factors that influence the physical and mental health of both care provider and care recipient. Finally, we will apply these concepts to one of the difficult transitions that aging adults and their families are often confronted with in later life: decisions about continuing to drive an automobile.