Carey Wexler Sherman

Carey Wexler ShermanOlder women in blended families who are caring for a spouse with dementia are unlikely to get needed support from stepchildren, according to a recent study by ISR researcher Carey Wexler Sherman. The research was featured in The New York Times, Reuters, and other news outlets.  According to the Oct. 4 Reuters article, about a third of U.S. marriages are remarriages for at least one member of the couple, and almost five percent of the U.S. population cares for a dementia patient, so blended families increasingly confront the challenges of caregiving. The 61 study participants created diagrams of “social,” “positive,” and “negative” networks related to caretaking, and stepchildren made up 35 percent of the negative group. The women also reported that stepfamily members were more likely to criticize or interfere in care decisions. Limited chances to bond with adult stepchildren may contribute to the caregiving tensions, Reuters noted.