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Observations and commentary on aging, caregiving, and the complex journey through the second half of life.

Bitter Endings

Posted by on Oct 26, 2008 in Aging Parents

We wished things had turned out different. They didn’t. History and personalities brought the drama of our aging parents to its only logical and painful conclusion. But as Linda Kriger points out in her heart felt article entitled Seeking Forgiveness (, the death of a parent hardly ends the trauma or internal dialogue that haunts us following a “bitter ending.” My father and I parted on similar terms, incommunicado and mutually sorry about our biological connection. As James Joyce reminds us in The Dead, the departed usually prove more formidable after their gone. My father was no exception. I have danced for years with the guilt, anger, and loneliness of the events surrounding his death. The fact that our relationship was never right from the beginning offered no comfort. Even his blatant failings, alcoholism, violence, and a perverse perfectionism...

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Working with Low Income Seniors

Posted by on Oct 4, 2008 in Aging Parents

I was recently asked by a large medicare provider how my work on the developmental tasks of seniors could be used by their patient advocates with a predominately low income population. I thought is was an excellent question, and here is what I said. In my experience, financial hardship demands an inordinate amount of time and energy just to understand and manage control issues. The battle to make sure you have food, shelter, and medications is a fulltime job. Understandably, your senior services professionals will spend the majority of their time helping your members think about and chose the best “control plan” based on the immediate circumstances. Poverty is unto itself a twelve-step program, one stressful day at a time. Aging and diminished health create overwhelming complexity for seniors. This makes them feel confused, isolated, and out of control....

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