Under a traditional ‘generational contract,’ Japanese adult children provide care to their parents within co-residency and in return, inherit family wealth. In Britain, with its long-established welfare state and people’s preference for independent living, the provision of such care and inheritance do not necessarily go together.
This is a cross-national, comparative research examining the changing patterns and critical issues of exchanging care and inheritance between older parents and their adult children in two ageing societies – Britain and Japan. How policies deal with long-term care issue is a central concern of an ageing society, since policies often influence the social contract of rights, responsibilities and obligations between the state and individuals as well as across generations in the family. Such policy implications on family reciprocity and state/family boundaries are explored in the household research. It explicitly examines the decision-making process of older people regarding their housing choice in relation to care needs and inheritance perspectives; their strategies of negotiating family support; and their changing expectations towards public services.
Through a series of interviews with older people, the distinct ways in which specific cultures, family traditions, laws and policies, as well as housing markets combine to influence different ‘generational contracts’ are explored.