More Retirees Find Themselves Taking Care Of Mom And Dad


People are living longer compared to decades ago. That fact has spawned a trend--senior citizens taking care of their very elderly parents.
As part of our statewide collaboration covering the California Dream, KPBS's Amita Sharma spoke to two sisters in their late-60s who share care of their 100-year old mom.
{It's 3 pm on a windy February day in San Diego and 100-year-old Ginny Davenport -- with her smiling eyes and flawless manicure -- is excited about the evening ahead. (Broll of Ginny)

(Lower Third - Centenarian Ginny Davenport)
(RL8D2443) 2:44:36 "I hope about five o'clock, before the girls leave, that we'll sit down and have a vermouth." (Laughter trailing)

The girls, as Ginny calls them, are her daughters. There's 69-year-old Kelly and 67-year-old Riley. Both sisters are married and retired. They both have children. Kelly has a grandchild. (Broll of Kelly and Riley Davenport)

And both have taken responsibility for Ginny, as THEY call her, after their father's recent death. (Broll of Kelly and Riley Davenport)

Here's Riley….(Broll of Riley)

(Lower Third - Ginny's daughter Riley Davenport)
(RL8D2439) 00:00:27:78 "We basically share her and so two weeks at my house and two weeks here at my sister's house. It helps us not get responsibility fatigue if you will."

At a time in life when 60- or 70-something seniors anticipate retirement, and maybe some down-time, some are becoming caregivers and guardians of their parents. No stats exist on how widespread this is but the trend is expected to intensify. (Broll of seniors on this link at 2:40 onward: ==

(Lower Third - University Gerontology Professor Donna Benton)
"People are living longer."

University of Southern California gerontology professor Donna Benton says caregiving by younger seniors -- amid their own aging process - has its costs.

(Lower Third - University Gerontology Professor Donna Benton)
"For family caregivers, almost 50 percent report some type of strain or symptoms of depression."

Riley Davenport says...for her family...resources and planning are key.

(Lower Third - Ginny's daughter Riley Davenport)
(RL8D2439) 00:14:47 "We do have caregivers during the day so that I can work or play or do whatever I am going to do."

The professional caregivers help Ginny out of bed and bathe her. They take her to doctor's appointments, track her medications. (Broll of caregivers with Ginny)

Ginny's older daughter Kelly says the sisters considered moving their mom to a senior community. (Broll of Kelly)

(Lower Third - Ginny's oldest daughter Kelly Davenport)
(RL8D2441) (:04:59:28) "..but I think that just neither of us can imagine that it would be the best thing for her, or us really."

Taking turns living with their mom...they learn more about her everyday... They recently came across a letter Ginny's first husband...not their father... wrote during World War II. (Broll of Kelly and Riley with Ginny)

((Lower Third - Ginny's oldest daughter Kelly Davenport)
(RL8D2436) :06:38:79 " ...saying you know I'm going to go on this bombing mission tomorrow. I don't expect to make it home alive so you go ahead and have a life, marry and have kids like we talked about. I'm sure you'll find a good man. That's just so hurtful. "

Ginny's first husband did die in the war. Today, Ginny reads novels about that era. There's the romance about a time-traveling World War II nurse. (Broll of Ginny)

(Lower Third - Centenarian Ginny Davenport)
(RL8D2442) :00:03:69) "I've been rereading The Outlander because I like it."

She watches television. (Broll of Ginny)

(Lower Third - Centenarian Ginny Davenport)
(RL8D2442)00:01:10:93) "I do like the Golden Girls."

She talks with her daughters about her life...and their lives. (Broll of Ginny, Kelly and Riley)

(Lower Third - Centenarian Ginny Davenport)
(RL8D2442) 06:15:65) "I can't think of anything we haven't shared."

All three women adorns the walls of Kelly's house. On this day, mother and daughters look at the paintings they've done over the years. (Broll of them talking about art)

(RL8D2445) 1:33 Ginny "That's one of my favorites.
Kelly "They're all your favorites kind of like your children.
Ginny "They are my children."

Gerontologist Benton says the Davenports' story is atypical when it comes to seniors caring for their elderly parents. Too often families don't have the relationships...or resources...or health….to age together so gracefully. (Broll of the three talking)

But when they do, it's ideal.(Broll of the three talking)

"It does allow for everyone to grow throughout their lifetime."

Ginny says living with her daughters couldn't be more comfortable. (Broll of Ginny)

(Lower Third - Centenarian Ginny Davenport)
((RL8D2442)(00:02:41:85) "They're a part of me. Having grown up with them, I'm still growing up with them. It doesn't sound right. But that's what it's like."

In San Diego, I'm Amita Sharma.



Title: More Retirees Find Themselves Taking Care Of Mom And Dad

Type: Segment

Subject(s): Health and Mental Health

Public Broadcasting Station or Institution: KPBS

Original Broadcast/Publish Date: 03/04/2019

Runtime: 00:06:14

Rights Information:

  • Media Rights: All manner and media
  • Territory (*Please note: all internet exploitation of this program must be geo-limited to the specified territory): Worldwide
  • Term: In perpetuity
  • Releases: Unlimited
  • Editing Allowed?: Yes
  • Digital Classroom Rights: Yes
  • Promotional Use: Yes

Sensitive Material: N/A

Special Instructions: N/A

File Clean of Graphics: No

Language: English


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