Many families will have to make difficult decisions about aging family members at some point in their lives, considering options like institutionalization, palliative care, and even physician-assisted death. In her latest book, CHASP faculty fellow and LBJ School professor Dr. Jacqueline Angel, with colleague Dr. Ronald Angel, examines a range of difficult issues commonly faced during the family life course via a series of vignettes about a fictional family relating to the treatment of a seriously ill parent.
Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society, published by Routledge, addresses rapidly evolving moral and ethical dilemmas that define post-traditional society. These arise from rapid and extensive technological advances and the social changes that accompany them. Among others, these advances include new reproductive technologies, new possibilities for altering the human genome, and medical advances that allow individuals with serious illnesses to be kept alive even when there is little chance of significant recovery. The book places these challenges in the context of family decision making in the context of dramatically changing family forms that includes same-sex marriage, cohabitation, divorce and multiple remarriages, and more.
The authors, Dr. Jacqueline Angel and Dr. Ronald Angel, follow a fictional family whose experiences reflect the real-life experiences and moral dilemmas that most of us must eventually face. The presentation is informed by the reality that in the modern world the rules concerning marriage, the withholding of life support, the support of aging parents, and more are not dictated by tradition, religion, or the state. The authors argue that, like it or not, we are all condemned to choice. Today even following tradition represents a choice since particular styles of life are not dictated by any overarching authority. This freedom, though, is not an unmixed blessing. The need to choose among different life options introduces a degree of insecurity since the choices we make have profound implications for our families, regardless of their form, and for society at large.
Dr. Jacqueline Angel is a leading expert in policies impacting the aging population. Her research addresses the relationships linking family structures, inequality, and health across the life course, including a special focus on minority aging, the Hispanic population, and older Mexican-Americans.