With life expectancy almost double what it was a hundred years ago, we are at a point in history when people eighty-five years and over make up the largest growing demographic in the United States. Some will remain vital and active into their nineties, while others will struggle with chronic illness and dementia. With this increase in longevity comes a growing need for care. To whom will this responsibility fall?
Most often, it falls to the daughters and sons (and sometimes nieces, nephews and grandchildren) who make up the forty million unpaid family caregivers in this country. Many are ill-prepared for this stage of life and most have little knowledge of how to navigate the many challenges of caregiving. My Parent’s Keeper: The Guilt, Grief, Guesswork, and Unexpected Gifts of Caregiving, by senior care expert Jody Gastfriend, answers a call. With a foreword by Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, this essential guide to caring for aging and ailing family members provides actionable advice, illuminating vignettes, and a compassionate approach to helping family caregivers find gratification in their new role. Beyond the “how to do it,” the book offers “how to grow through it.”
The award-winning book, My Parent’s Keeper, provides fresh, provocative and ultimately optimistic insights into the experience of caregiving. Using the latest research and drawing on case histories and poignant interviews, the book is a resource as well as an inspiration for family caregivers. The book combines powerful and relatable stories illustrating a broad range of caregiving challenges: parents who need but refuse help, siblings who don’t get along, juggling work and caregiving, and caring for a parent who didn’t care for you. It untangles the maze of healthcare and paying for long-term care. It reveals the power of connecting with a loved one who has dementia, realizing the benefits amid the burdens of caregiving. For many, the transformational life passage of caring for an aging parent, along with the pain, can bring simple pleasures and a deeper appreciation of one’s own aging.