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Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents, Even If They Didn't Take Care of You Paperback – March 16, 2006


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Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents, Even If They Didn't Take Care of You + Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent : A Guide for Stressed-Out Children + Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please!: How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (March 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585424625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585424627
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ROBERTA SATOW, Ph.D., is chairperson of the Department of Sociology at Brooklyn College and is a practicing psychoanalyst.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The book would be stronger if the author had stepped back for a broader perspective.
Dr. Cathy Goodwin
I recommend this book to anyone caring for aging parents and finding it much more difficult to navigate than they had anticipated.
Eileen
If you are facing, or will be facing the problem of elderly parents, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
John Matlock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After picking up this book in a library, I was surprised to learn how low it is ranked on this list. Although I do not have personal need of the book (my parents are dead), many of my contemporaries are or were caregivers. This book helped me understand them. Among my aquaintances, nearly every primary caregiver is on antidepressants. With little time for exercise or self-care they have health and weight problems. And the primary caregiver often is not the favorite child. As Pipher says, he or she may be an estranged child seeking a last chance to work out "unresolved issues," in the language of therapy.

The book's title can be misleading. Satow does not limit her topic to children who resent their parents. She provides several examples of selfless caregivers who love their parents and care for them willingly. Often they're repaying an emotional debt or following a culture they embrace.

Given the heavy subject matter, author Satow couldn't take on the usual upbeat, cheery tone of most self-help books. In fact, reading the book can be exhausting. I am reminded of Mary Pipher's book, Another Country: relentless examples of frustration with no end in sight.

Compared to Pipher, Satow comes across more as a hands-on therapist and teacher. And she's the kind of therapist who holds firm to mainstream beliefs (e.g., we never lose ties to our parents) and offers, by way of encouragement, a simple, "That's difficult."

Like Pipher, Satow's message is one of acceptance. At some point in life, there's little to anticipate. And contemporary American society lacks an infrastructure to provide support.

The book would be stronger if the author had stepped back for a broader perspective.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on April 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There are a lot of books out there that talk about caring for elderly parents. Most of them talk about the options we have available. And there are a lot of options, from nursing homes to taking the parent into your own home.

What there isn't much about how we feel when we have to to this. I know of very few people who reached adulthood without having unresolved issues with their parents. (As one book says, all families are dysfunctional.) When the parent gets older, becomes in many ways a child again, all this old baggage you thought you'd gotten rid of is brought out of the obsure storage room where you put it.

This book is not on taking care of your parents. It's on taking care of you when you have to take care of them.

If you are facing, or will be facing the problem of elderly parents, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It just may save your marriage, your sanity.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Edward Skonieczny on May 6, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is it folks! Probably one of the most important books I have ever read. It took me, as the reader, full circle from my childhood all the way through to my current relationship with my aging parents, in a matter of hours. I could not and would not put this book down. It wouldn't let me. Never have I read anything on the issue of children dealing with their aging parents that has so thoroughly covered every human emotion. It is gut-wrenching and inspiring at the same time. Kudos to Roberta Satow for having the desire and the ability to write about a topic that is so controversial and so very necessary. This book pushed all of my buttons and made me rethink every aspect of my relationship with my parents and my own children. This subject cannot be talked about or written about enough. I took on every role while engrossed in this book. I was child, sibling, parent and aging parent all at the same time. I was hit emotionally from every angle. When the book was finished I was literally angry that there weren't more pages. I can't stop thinking about or talking about this book. Now that is the sign of a great book! Please tell me there will be more where this came from!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eileen on August 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to anyone caring for aging parents and finding it much more difficult to navigate than they had anticipated. I expected to deal with physical and logistical problems when I moved my parents from their home of 50 plus years to live near my home in another city. But I didn't imagine the emotional havoc that I would experience. I only hope that the subtitle does not dissuade potential readers who had no particular issues with their upbringing; anyone in the parent care situation will benefit greatly from this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ann Arbor on May 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My parents never used drugs, were unfaithful to each other or abusive to us. Many of the stories in this book were cases like this. However, I gained great insight into dealing with my 91 year old recently widowed mother. I have more clues. I know what traps to avoid in dealing with her in the future. And I realize I am not alone in dealing with these issues. I no longer feel guilty about my feelings. This book is so helpful and I am going to share it with my sister first and then others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By HealthiaCynthia on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wow-- Reading this, I felt that Roberta Satow was in the backseat in my own journey with my elderly mother. Satow's perspective is Freudian, which I thought that I'd tossed out back during some personal time of "enlightenment", but she certainly helps me to understand how my 'ambivalent' feelings towards my mom have created a lot of self-perpetuating guilt and fear that prevents me from moving on. This book is helping me to to make some decisions about my mother's care, and about my own. I'm recommending it to friends in similar life courses.
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