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Jane Gross

A Bittersweet Season : Caring for Our Aging Parents--and Ourselves

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Gross offers vitally important lessons for caring for an aging parent, including navigating Medicare, nursing home care, and the varying state laws in this indispensable advice and guidebook.

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Gross offers vitally important lessons for caring for an aging parent, including navigating Medicare, nursing home care, and the varying state laws in this indispensable advice and guidebook.

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
Therapeutic Fibs


Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Jane Gross
A Bittersweet Season
Publication Date
May, 2012
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.98 x 5.17 x 0.95 Inches

Customer reviews & ratings

Average Rating:(4.7)out of 5 stars
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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

We are all in this boo...

We are all in this book together. All of us need to read and absorb what Jane Gross elaborates in detail about all of the aspects of her Mother's dying process. This book is a tremendous resource, full of the factual and emotional aspects surrounding the death of anyone of us, including ourselves. Although it reads like a gripping novel, it is all too real---actuality beats imagination again.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

I wish I had read this...

I wish I had read this book sooner. Jane Gross details her and her brother's experiences with her aging mother. Their story is both sweet and bitter. Gross describes the tender moments and does not avoid the unpleasant ones. Somehow, she manages to do that while letting through the humor that her family shared during those years. Gross also manages to put in lots of details about things as varied as the intricacies of spending down money to become eligible for Medicaid, the legal issues of parents in another state, and the flaws in how our medical system treats disease. Gross is Jewish and notes that the Bible does not describe the long slow path to death that most elderly now experience. Much of what she writes was familiar to me such as the chapter on therapeutic fibs-the little lies we end up telling our parents to get through awkward situations. That might mean telling your parent that a drug helps enhance appetite rather than that it is an antidepressant because the parent is of an age that does not acknowledge the existence of depression. After all, they lived through the real Depression. I have lived, and am living, through much of what she describes with my father and now my mother. I really wish I had known in advance about more of what she relates in her book. I recommend this book to anyone who has aging parents, especially ones still in good health. That will change at some point and the farther in advance you can prepare for that change, the better.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Eye-opening in many wa...

Eye-opening in many ways, this book is somewhat repetitive if read straight through because of many of the chapters' being written originally as a blog, but extremely informative and unsentimental. The scariest passage for me was this: "It's heresy, I know, to tell friends, colleagues, blog readers, and the like that a parent over eighty-five is not likely to die quickly, easily, or without full-time assistance with the activities of daily living. The data confirming this fact, however, are compelling and uncontested by the experts. Deny that data and make avoiding a nursing home your goal, and the odds are you will subject your parent to excessive, pointless, and damaging relocations. That was the case with my mother."


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