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

Bittersweet SeasonJane Gross. A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents – and Ourselves. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, NY. 2011. 350 pages.

$15.50 at Amazon (click on book to order)

The often wrenching transition to caring for aging parents is one that many children will face. Part memoir, part informative guide, A Bittersweet Season is a poignant primer on what those caregivers can expect, written by a gifted storyteller.

Author Jane Gross, a former New York Times reporter and founding blogger of the Times’s New Old Age blog, unflinchingly shares the specifics of dealing with her mother's deteriorating condition. The book follows Gross and her brother as they move her ailing mother from Florida to New York. Gross chronicles her mother's struggles in assisted living, her decision to have surgery, her discharge from the hospital on September 11, 2001, her move to a nursing home, her numerous health problems, and her decision to die by refusing food and water. Along the way, Gross provides helpful information about assisted living facilities, finding primary care doctors, applying for Medicaid, and more.

Gross and her brother were isolated and uninformed when they began caring for their mother.  Written to help other adult children avoid their mistakes, A Bittersweet Season is both touching and instructive.