The Well-Being of Grandparents Living in South Tyrol

Elisa Cisotto, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Doris Kofler, Free University of Bolzano-Bozen
Maria Herica La Valle, Univeristy Roma Tre
Giulia Cavrini , Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

The remarkable increase in life expectancy and the continued alteration of family composition emphasise the role played by grandparents as a major resource for grandchildren’s growth and care. However, the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can affect the health conditions of both, thus drawing the attention of several scholars. Our paper reports the preliminary results of a pilot study funded by the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano about the quality of life of grandparents associated to the care of grandchildren in the Italian Province of Bozen-Bolzano. This area located in the north of Italy is particularly important in this context because of two main reasons: firstly, it exhibits the highest fertility rates, quality of life and wellbeing ranks in the country; secondly, inhabitants can be divided into three official language groups, German, Italian and Ladin. This raises the question whether different relationships between grandparents and grandchildren can be detected based on different cultural backgrounds. The present work mainly aims at investigating the association between taking care of one or more grandchildren and grandparents’ well-being, with particular attention to preschool aged grandchildren. Very preliminary and broad results show that most respondents are in good health, report high levels of subjective well-being and take regularly care of their grandchildren without their parents’ presence. This confirms how important the role played by grandparents in terms of responsibility, care and help for their children’s daily life is.

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 Presented in Session 50. Ageing and Intergenerational Relations