Synopses & Reviews
Just a few of the vitally important lessons in caring for your aging parent—and yourself—from Jane Gross in A Bittersweet Season
As painful as the role reversal between parent and child may be for you, assume it is worse for your mother or father, so take care not to demean or humiliate them.
Avoid hospitals and emergency rooms, as well as multiple relocations from home to assisted living facility to nursing home, since all can cause dramatic declines in physical and cognitive well-being among the aged.
Do not accept the canard that no decent child sends a parent to a nursing home. Good nursing home care, which supports the entire family, can be vastly superior to the pretty trappings but thin staffing of assisted living or the solitude of being at home, even with round-the-clock help.
Every state has its own laws, eligibility standards, and licensing requirements for financial, legal, residential, and other matters that affect the elderly, including qualification for Medicare. Assume anything you understand in the state where your parents once lived no longer applies if they move.
Many doctors will not accept new Medicare patients, nor are they legally required to do so, especially significant if a parent is moving a long distance to be near family in old age.
An adult child with power of attorney can use a parents money for legitimate expenses and thus hasten the spend-down to Medicaid eligibility. In other words, you are doing your parent no favor—assuming he or she is likely to exhaust personal financial resources—by paying rent, stocking the refrigerator, buying clothes, or taking him or her to the hairdresser or barber.
From the Hardcover edition.
When Jane Gross found herself suddenly thrust into a caretaker role for her eighty-five year-old mother, she was forced to face challenges that she had never imagined. As she and her younger brother struggled to move her mother into an assisted living facility, deal with seemingly never-ending costs, and adapt to the demands on her time and psyche, she learned valuable and important lessons. Here, the longtime New York Times
expert on the subject of elderly care and the founder of the New Old Age
blog shares her frustrating, heartbreaking, enlightening, and ultimately redemptive journey, providing us along the way with valuable information that she wishes she had known earlier. We learn why finding a general practitioner with a specialty in geriatrics should be your first move when relocating a parent; how to deal with Medicaid and Medicare; how to understand and provide for your own needs as a caretaker; and much more. Wise, smart, and ever-helpful, A Bittersweet Season
is an essential guide to caring for aging parents.
Includes chapters on the following subjects:
Finding Our Better Selves
The Myth of Assisted Living
The Vestiges of Family Medicine
The Best Doctors Money Can Buy
The Biology, Sociology, and Psychology of Aging
About the Author
Jane Gross was a reporter for Sports Illustrated and Newsday before joining The New York Times in 1978. Her twenty-nine-year tenure there included national assignments as well as coverage of aging. In 2008, she launched a blog for the Times called The New Old Age, to which she still contributes. She has taught journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Columbia University, and was the recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship. She lives in Westchester County, New York.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Finding Our Better Selves
Chapter 1: The Early Heroic Rush
Chapter 2: The Myth of Assisted Living
Chapter 3: The Vestiges of Family Medicine
Chapter 4: A Job for Professionals
Chapter 5: The Best Doctors Money Can Buy
Chapter 6: September Eleventh
Chapter 7: September Twelfth
Chapter 8: The Biology, Sociology, and Psychology of Aging
Chapter 9: A Nursing Home Thanksgiving
Chapter 10: The Make-A-Wish Foundation
Chapter 11: Follow the Money
Chapter 12: Therapeutic Fibs
Chapter 13: Cruel Sorting
Chapter 14: As Complicated as a Rubik's Cube
Chapter 15: The Time for Talking
Chapter 16: N-O-W
Chapter 17: Dying Days
Chapter 18: Orphans
Epilogue: Lost and Found