Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents Even if They Didn't Take Care of You
Roberta Satow, author
Satow's insightful manual asserts that with proper preparation, middle-aged baby boomers charged with sick or elderly parents, even estranged ones, can find caring for them a rewarding, or at least tolerable, situation, one that need not erode anyone's integrity or sanity. Psychoanalyst and Brooklyn College sociology professor Satow's personal experience with her own difficult mother suggests that such care may actually mend long-conflicted relationships. She intercuts her clearly written advice with brief illustrative stories taken from interviews with 50 caregivers. As Satow airs and analyzes the complex array of feelings that can be brought on by the massive responsibilities of caring for an aged parent, duties made worse by previous or current selfish or manipulative behavior, she suggests coping strategies for becoming "more conscious about what [we experience] in the process of care giving." Satow's sympathy and useful advice will offer conflicted caregivers straightforward help in dealing with their ambivalent feelings toward parents who are in a terminal phase of life. Her belief that "it is normal and okay to feel ambivalent at times" about one's role is indeed reassuring.