A Bittersweet Season
Caring for Our Aging Parents--and Ourselves
By Jane Gross
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307472403, 448pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
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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
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.
As part of Morning Edition's Family Matters financial literacy series, Renee Montagne talks to Jane Gross, author of A Bittersweet Season, about caring for her aging mother, and what she wishes she had known before she started. More at NPR.org
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“Unique and lovely. . . . How wonderful to have [Gross’s] mix of sage advice, pithy insights and practical discoveries at hand.” —Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“Nothing can fully prepare you for the overwhelming experience of caring for your elderly parents, but Jane Gross’s new book, A Bittersweet Season, comes awfully close . . . Gross is an incisive critic of our systems and institutions.” —The Seattle Times
“A forthright story and trenchant advice. . . . Intimate and affecting.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A smart and highly detailed book about navigating the complex eldercare system as it related to healthcare, insurance and end of life. . . . The kind of book social workers might suggest to the family who craves more perspective about the logistical issues mentioned above. . . . Readers will find they are engaged by how much they learn in reading Gross’s account.” —Psychology Today
"Hugely informative, and a gripping read." —Betty Rollin, author of Last Wish
“A Bittersweet Season is sure to become required reading for anyone with an elderly parent who depends on long-term care. It's also a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in America's health care system as it braces for the demands posed by demographic changes that include a sharp rise in the group now termed the "old old." —The Huffington Post
“An invaluable guide. . . . Excellent. . . . . Jane Gross has taken her own painful experiences and worked hard to give needed help to us all.” —Commonweal Magazine
"With great insight and empathy, Jane Gross guides us through one of the most difficult of all life transitions—the decline and death of our parents. Not only does she provide a wonderfully helpful guide for how and what to do, and when. She also enables us to understand what our parents need, and what we ourselves need, during this passage.” —Robert B. Reich, author of Aftershock
“This is tough stuff, and Gross writes movingly about the toll it takes on her and other caregivers. . . . She’s serious about documenting the often hidden workload borne by middle-aged daughters and sons.” —The Boston Globe
“A Bittersweet Season deals with a sobering topic. But the narrative is so lively and informative that readers will come away feeling more prepared than pessimistic . . . An intelligent guide to handling the onset of old age with sagacity and sensitivity.” —BookPage
“This book is an invaluable and comprehensive primer on what most Americans will face soon. Its honest and loving message is to prepare yourself now.” —Jeff Madrick, author of Age of Greed
“Readers may pick up this very well-written book to learn about taking care of their own ailing parents, but will soon realize that it’s also a wake-up call to become educated in order to make informed decisions about their own inevitable aging.” —The New York Jewish Week
“A Bittersweet Season is a brave and compelling book by a masterful storyteller.” —Carol Levine, director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund