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Extended Audio Sample A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents—and Ourselves, by Jane Gross Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (162 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Gross Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In telling the intimate story of caring for her aged and ailing mother, Jane Gross offers indispensable—and often surprising—advice for the rapidly increasing number of adult children responsible for aging parents.

Gross deftly weaves the specifics of her personal experience—a widowed mother with mounting health problems, the attendant collision of fear and ignorance, the awkward role reversal of parent and child, unresolved family relationships with her mother and brother, and the conflict between her day job and caregiving—with a comprehensive resource for effectively managing the lives of one’s own parents while keeping sanity and strength intact.

Packed with information, A Bittersweet Season explains which questions to ask when looking for a nursing home or assisted living facility; how to unravel the mysteries of Medicare and Medicaid; why finding a new general practitioner should always be the first move when relocating an elderly parent; how to weigh quality against quantity of life when considering medical interventions; why you should always keep a phone charger and an extra pair of glasses in your car; and much more. It also provides astute commentary on a national health care system that has stranded two generations to fend for themselves at this most difficult of times.

No less important are the lessons of the human spirit that Gross learned in the last years of her mother’s life, and afterward, when writing for the New York Times and The New Old Age, a blog she launched for the newspaper. Calling upon firsthand experience and extensive reporting, Gross recounts a story of grace and compassion in the midst of a crisis that shows us how the end of one life presents a bittersweet opportunity to heal old wounds and find out what we are made of.

Wise, unflinching, and ever helpful, A Bittersweet Season is an essential guide for anyone navigating this unfamiliar, psychologically demanding, powerfully emotional, and often redemptive territory.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A Bittersweet Season manages to send its voice aloft, its two parts harmonizing in sorrowful, haunting song.”

    New York Times

  • “Kate Reading’s flawless performance…[keeps] the melodrama out of this very personal documentary, [capturing] the author’s determined efforts to arrange the best care for her mother.”

    AudioFile

  • “A heart-wrenching story and an informative guide for those caring for aging parents.”

    Booklist

  • “There are no easy answers here, because there are none. A thought-provoking resource for end-of-life care.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by John Kennedy | 2/17/2014

    " I can relate to the author as she talks about the trials of dealing with her aging mother, as the elderly woman declines from an assisted living facility to eventually being unable to do much of anything on her own in a nursing home. The book is witty, poignant and insightful. Some parts are repetitious, and it would have been helpful in spots to have fewer details about her own situation and more general information. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Laura | 2/17/2014

    " This book provided much insight, empathy, and food for thought. As my siblings and I determine how to do right by our 87-year-old father, this work sheds light on the path that lies ahead. I also begin to appreciate how much we still need to change public policy, not to mention attitudes about Medicaid, to reflect the realities of aging. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Connie Albers | 2/15/2014

    " Every single one of my circles of friends has members dealing with aging-parent issues. I'm sure that the subject matter of this book is only a foretaste of things to come. There was much I didn't know, and much that I learned. Still, I can't help but wonder if some of the observations and issues dealt with by the author would have been different had she had a different kind of relationship with her mother while growing up, one more loving and nurturing. Still, perhaps their mutual detachment made it ultimately easier to face the heart-wrenching situations and decision-making as they evolved. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jane O'keeffe | 2/6/2014

    " Until you are in the same trenches Jane Gross writes about, this book is mildly interesting. When you are there with her,it is a treasure trove of information. "

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About the Author

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 New York Times called The New Old Age, to which she still contributes. Gross has taught journalism at the University of California–Berkeley and Columbia University and was the recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship. She lives in Westchester County, New York.