4 out of 4 stars
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Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents is a very informative and helpful book about caregiving written by Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW.
The book is a cornucopia of information, tips and advice based on the author’s forty years of professional expertise and personal experience caring for her father. It is divided into two parts. The first part tells about the author’s father: his relationship with his parents and siblings, his military life, his work values, his wife and children and his final years. His life story is told alternately with information as well as personal advice from the author which are based on her experiences both as a medical social worker and as a daughter who watched her father advance in age. The second part is a set of valuable information and tips on important matters like hospital and insurance bills, nursing homes, estate planning, legal documents, funeral arrangements and more.
This is a well written, well-researched and well-referenced book not only for professional caregivers but also, and probably more importantly, for adult children of elderly parents who are presently or may (in the future) be caring personally for their senior loved ones. The author emphasizes how important it is, to them as well as to us, to listen to our parents as they tell us the story of their lives. The author also shares her family’s experience as they dealt with her mother’s debilitating illness, the pain they all went through as they watched their loved one deteriorate from the warm, caring and loving mother to the unrecognizable person she became.
Besides the management of hospital bills and insurance, the author brings up a very important but sensitive topic that, probably, all adult children find difficult to talk about, the death, and ultimately, the funeral arrangement of a deceased parent. Equally important are some issues that might arise after the passing of an elderly loved one like estate planning and dividing possessions.
As a daughter of an elderly parent, I find this book very relatable and I felt lucky to have chosen this book to review. It is informative and helpful, easy to read and understand, but most importantly, the tone conveys the author’s deep understanding of what adult children are going through. What I like most about the book, however, is the emphasis on parent-child relationship. How to deal with ailing elderly, how to find the right caregiver and how to decide on a nursing home depends on how much or how little we know our parents and how close we are to them. The title itself ‘Role Reversal’ signifies the bond between the parent and the child, that at some point in their lives it is the child who will do the caring for her parent the way her parent cared for her when she was a child.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is helpful, informative, well-written and well-researched and I recommend it to everyone who cares about his or her parent.
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