They're Your Parents, Too!
How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents' Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy
By Francine Russo
(Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553806991, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
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Your parents are growing older and are getting forgetful, starting to slow down, or worse. Suddenly you find yourself at the cusp of one of the most important transitions in your life—and the life of your family. Your parents need you and your siblings to step up and take care of them, a little or a lot. To make the right things happen, you will all need to work together. And yet your siblings may have very different ideas from yours of what’s best for Mom and Dad. They may be completely uninterested in helping, leaving you with all the responsibility. Or they may take charge and not allow you to help, or criticize whatever help you do give. Will you and your siblings be able to reach an understanding and work together, or will the challenges you face tear you apart?
Most of us enter this period of our lives unprepared for the difficult decisions and delicate negotiations that lie ahead. This is the first book that provides guidance on the transition from the “old” family to the “new” one, especially for adult siblings. Here you’ll find practical advice on a wide range of topics including
• Who will make major medical decisions, manage finances, and enforce end-of-life choices if your parents cannot? And how will this be decided and carried out?
• How will you negotiate caregiving issues and deal with unequal contributions or power struggles?
• How can inheritance and the division of property, assets, and personal effects be handled to minimize hurt feelings and resentment?
• How will you cope with the natural reemergence of unresolved childhood rivalries, hurts, and needs?
• How can caring for your parents be an enriching experience rather than a thankless chore?
• Most important, how can you ensure the best care for your parents while lessening conflict, guilt, anger, and angst?
Written by a veteran journalist who chronicles life and how baby boomers live it, They’re Your Parents, Too! offers all the information, insight, and advice you’ll need to make productive choices as you and your siblings begin to assume your parents’ place as the decision-making generation of your family.
Filled with expert guidance from gerontologists, family therapists, elder-care attorneys, financial planners, and health workers; resonant real-life stories; and helpful family negotiation techniques, this is an indispensable book for anyone whose parents are aging.
Francine Russo is a widely recognized journalist who covered the boomer beat for Time magazine for nearly a decade and authored the “Ask Francine” column. She has also written for The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Redbook, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Self, Glamour, and The Village Voice. A mother of two and stepmother of three, she has a Ph.D. in English and lives in Manhattan.
"Russo is so insightful, so psychologically acute and compassionate that she held me rapt for the whole book...They're Your Parents, Too! is the first book of it's kind I have ever read and I am extremely grateful to Russo for giving us her wisdom and the help of the experts whose voices guide us through what is an extremely difficult passage for us all." –Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Washington and author of Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years
"Francine Russo has written a stunning book about one of the most complex but ignored times of human transition—the sibling relationships when parents are in decline and then die. Taking over often becomes a sibling struggle—and therein lies the core of Francine Russo's uplifting book." –Pauline Boss, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota and author of Ambiguous Loss
“I wish Francine Russo had been my tutor as I faced my own mother’s decline and death. All the issues that came up for my brother and sister and me are addressed so accurately and compassionately in this book. This is a manual that shows us how to negotiate a healing path through our parents’ final challenge, and prepares us for our own.” –David Richo, PhD., author of When the Past is Present and How To Be An Adult
“This book by Francine Russo will be enormously helpful to siblings struggling with the many challenges posed as their parents grow older.” –Robert N. Butler, M.D. President and CEO, International Longevity Center, Founding director of the National Institute on Aging
“Interesting, relevant, insightful! Anyone who reads this book will find something that opens a window to new thinking about themselves and their relationships. Russo has really done her homework. I’m recommending this to everyone I know who’s having sibling issues around their parents—and that’s practically everyone I know.” –Harriett Balkind, founder of SNOETY.COM (SECRETS NO ONE EVER TOLD YOU ®)
“Even I, who practice mediation for a living and am able to help people with their difficult conversations, found it extremely difficult to start my own family’s discussions about caring for our mother without help from outside. Now I am committed to helping families find ways to have such conversations, using Francine Russo’s useful and engaging book as a springboard.” –Brigitte Bell, Brigitte Bell Mediation, Evanston, IL
“More than a how-to book, this groundbreaking work illuminates a difficult stage of life."–Library Journal