Personal experience of aging in the children of a parent with dementia

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2004;58(2):147-65. doi: 10.2190/UF7R-WXVU-VLGM-6MGW.


We investigated whether adults with a parent with dementia experience their personal aging differently than adults whose parents do not have dementia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 adults who had a parent with dementia and 25 controls. We found that, although in a general sense the two groups were quite similar in their personal experiences of aging, there were specific differences. The children of parents with dementia had a health-concept in which there was substantial emphasis on mental health. Moreover, they linked the dementia of their parent to their own aging and worried about developing a dementia syndrome themselves. They also held different attitudes with regard to end-of-life decisions. Finally, participants having a parent with dementia gave more extensive answers to simple questions. This overall response suggests more involvement with growing older and finitude in the children of parents with dementia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult Children / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Death
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Decision Making
  • Dementia*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands