Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $18.00
  • Save: $4.80 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Caring for Mother: A Daug... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Softcover in good condition
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye Paperback – June 4, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.20
$2.95 $0.01

Wiley Summer Savings Event.
Wiley Summer Savings Event.
Save up to 40% during Wiley's Summer Savings Event. Learn more.
$13.20 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye
  • +
  • My Mom My Hero: Alzheimer's-A mother and daughter's bittersweet journey
Total price: $26.15
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Death is never timely: it comes either too soon or too late. In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion recounts the aftermath of her husband's sudden death at the dinner table. At the other edge of the spectrum, Owens describes seven years preceding her mother's relentless descent into dementia, "God's own breath slowly leaking out through the fissures in her brain." Afflicted first with Parkinson's, then small strokes and Alzheimer's disease, Mrs. Stem eventually required round-the-clock care. Owens moved next door and spent hours every day with her: "All I could do was squat beside the avalanche, listening for any sign of life; sometimes I could hear a faint but familiar echo of her voice or gesture from under the heap." Through essays as incisive and insightful as Didion's, this account succeeds on multiple levels: medical detective story, personal memoir, flawless description, philosophical and spiritual exploration (where is the self when the brain no longer functions normally?). Owens offers not self-help but hope as she bears witness to the grief and glory of life's ending: "If love... weren't the center from which life flows, if it didn't, as Dante says, move the stars, how could we bear such weight?" (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With the 85-and-older population the fastest-growing segment of the elderly, and with millions of baby boomers sprinting toward their ranks, the likelihood of encountering Alzheimer's oneself or in a family member should increase exponentially in coming decades. Counting herself among this population-in-waiting, Owens offers this thought-provoking memoir of her family's nearly seven-year-long ordeal with her mother's illness. Portraying additional struggles with her own and her father's age-related medical issues, she yet drives home the relentlessness of Alzheimer's demands on its sufferer's circle of support. No matter a spouse's heart condition, or a daughter's challenged vision—mother's wandering off at any moment must take precedence. Owens and her father tended her mother a year and a half before the illness demanded nursing-home care. Though the nursing home offered release from 24/7 duty and relieved certain fears and responsibilities, her mother's condition still obliged considerable time commitment from the rest of the family. Rather than belaboring the losses it entailed, Owens makes her experience instructive and conducive to reflection by readers facing similar challenges. Chavez, Donna
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1 edition (June 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664231527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664231521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Virginia Stem Owens's latest book is a tremendously valuable account of the author's intricate relationship with her elderly mother, ill with dementia. While it reads as an absorbing narrative--sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always keenly honest--it also offers a carefully observed and researched medical history, bound to be instructive to both older and younger readers.

When her mother's physical frailty became problematic and Owens left her Kansas home to stay nearby her parents in Texas, she had no idea the sojourn would span seven years. In that time, her mother's diagnosis moved from Parkinson's disease to Alzheimer's, and Owens watched what she calls the "slow dismantling" of the intelligent and capable person she had known all her life.

What distinguishes this book from other records of a similar kind is Owens's unfailing sense of irony. She takes no prisoners. No one, including herself or her mother, is spared her perceptive eye and subtle wit. Doctors and medical staff particularly, are depicted with total frankness--too busy, too hasty, forgetful, insensitive--including the psychiatrist who tells the patient chirpingly to "get out more" and "find a purpose in life."

Yet the book is fair and full of compassion and the tone throughout is exactly right, an unusual accomplishment when the topic itself runs the gamut of emotions and human idiosyncracies. This is a tough record to read, but hardly depressing, and a wise-spirited author helps you through.
Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very true to life. Since I am in the eighth year of caring for my 98-year-old mom with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, I can definitely relate to many of the incidents written here. There are so many similarities to our past and present. I think it is a good book, especially for someone who is just beginning to care for their loved one. It helps with some of the unknowns "down the road."
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though the title did not sound promising, I try to read every personal account of Alzheimer's I come across, so I bought this book and sat down with it one night in my reading chair--and didn't get up for three hours. The writing was fluid, the characters strong, the dilemmas painful and eternal. "Caring for Mother" turned out to be both subtle and incisive, an essential book on dementia and patient care, perfectly contained in 163 pages.

"This is not a cheerful book," Virginia Owens explains in her Opening Note, "but it is truthful."

It's truthful, and it's vivid. The book has a story to tell, as it tracks the author's mother through an ever-increasing dementia toward what we know from the start will be a disaster. In the early chapters Virginia Owens helps look after her mother at home. Her mother has little faith in medicine: "She goes to the doctor the way I went to church as a teenager, bitter and under duress. She takes her pills like an apostate receiving communion, with little hope in their efficacy. A dark night for both soul and body."

It's worse later, in the nursing home--that place, Owens says, "the name of which strikes terror into every person's heart." When she goes to visit her mother, most of the other residents ignore her. She doesn't blame them, "They had every right to their withdrawal. Only a handful of residents have visitors who come on even a weekly basis. Most are visited occasionally, some rarely or never. People who've been abandoned develop a thick coat of defensive frost."

Owens' indictment of nursing homes is calm, steady, devastating. It's as abiding as the anger she sees in the residents: "You can feel it as soon as you come in the door. Cold Rage.
Read more ›
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book I've read of Virginia Stem Owens and it's an engaging memoir. Her mother's illnesses propel the book in incremental fashion and points. If you are caring for an elderly parent or person (which I am) it is informative.

If you are looking for sentimental memoir look elsewhere. I picked this book for that reason and to try to help me through the trials of my own life and it turned out to be the perfect choice. The trials Owens and her mother go through are heart wrenching and frustrating but she keeps the facts straight and the sentimentality low. She forges through all the trials with very little emotion. But the last chapter reels it all in and encircles you with hope and strength. It's a good, informative, strength building read.
1 Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a MUST read for anyone dealing with Parkinson's or any dementia related disease. It is word for word what I have experienced in the last 2 years with my parents. My Mother had Parkinson's and my Dad was taking care of her alone. I walked into a nightmare and overnight all of our worlds were changed forever. I thank you so much, Virginia, for writing this book and sharing your story with us. It affirms what my family and I have been going through in every single phase of any given day. Now I know I'm not crazy. This has been very hard and I need to be gentle with myself and to realize that I can't and won't just "spring back" over night and be back in my "normal little world" again. This book will help people to understand where their loved one is and how THEY feel as the decline of Parkinson's sets in. I read it and look back and have "a ha" moments throughout the book. I'm just sorry I didn't know these things at the time. But, at least I can know it now, thanks to your insights and hopefully other people can learn from this book as they are going through this walk with a loved one. Blessings to you, Virginia, and to those who pick this book up and read it. Profound information, to say the least.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye