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What motivates adult children in the United States to care for their disabled parents? This paper examines whether altruism and bequest motives influence adult childrens decisions about giving time to care for a disabled parent, giving financial resources, and giving future financial resources. Further, the paper examines the ways these different forms of giving affect caregivers' overall well-being, financial, family life, and life satisfaction.
Using data from the 1992 Health and Retirement Study, we find that bequest incentives, noneconomicllly motivated altruism, the type of disability faced by the parent, and considerations of opportunity cost are key factors. They influence adult childrens decisions about employment, giving time, and giving money to support disabled parents. General well-being, financial and family life satisfaction are lower when adult children risk long term income resources by decreasing labor market participation. Giving money increases family life satisfaction for adult children who care for parents who have cognitive limitations. While giving time to care for disabled parents increases financial satisfaction among adult children, it decreases their family life satisfaction.