Uhlenberg, Peter (1996). The Burden of Aging: A Theoretical Framework for Understanding the Shifting Balance of Caregiving and Care Receiving as Cohorts Age. Gerontologist, 36
Unless changes occur in the way cohorts age, the future aging of the population will make the burden of caring for older persons an increasingly salient political issue in American society. There is no reason, however, why aging in the future should replicate the pattern of aging that currently exists. A helpful step toward understanding what social changes would reduce the burden that aging cohorts place on society is the development of aging theory. This article develops a theoretical framework that explicates factors determining the level of care given and care received by cohorts moving through different stages of later life. Four proximate determinants of caregiving and three proximate determinants of care receiving are specified. Once the proximate determinants are identified, attention is focused on social changes that could reduce the burden of aging produced by cohorts aging through later life in the future.