Top critical review
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Don't judge it by the cover
on January 24, 2009
Disregard the 1-star rating. I intended to rate it 5 (best), but I can't find a way to to edit the rating.
This is a very good book with a bad title and a very bad cover illustration. The publisher must have had it in for the author.
It might better have been called "Facing Old Age - Yours Or Your Parents'" As Dr. Gillick uses the term, "Denial of Aging" simply means that pretending you're not getting old doesn't work. "Eternal life," in the subtitle, is not a theological concept but a reminder that, eventually, you will die.
Muriel Gillick is a geriatrician and medical professor whose concern for her patients has turned her into an advocate for the elderly in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. At times she can even be their advocate against their caregivers. It is to caregivers that she addresses her most heartfelt advice. Paraphrasing, it is that ultimately, when hope is gone, it's OK to let go. At the end, the answer to "We can't just let her die", is "Yes, you can."
In the rest of the book, she offers advice to caregivers looking out for their relatives. She considers assisted living and nursing homes to be a continuum. The former, after a time, leads to the latter; meanwhile, the cost increases as the assisted living facility finds - or asserts - the need for added services.
I gave copies of this book to my two sons, who may someday have to be my advocates. I told them that I hope they don't need it for a while and, when they do, they should check to see if Dr. Gillick has updated her advice to deal with our ever evolving health care system.
But until that happens, this is the book I want them to have.