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When the Time Comes: Families with Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions Hardcover – June 10, 2009
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"Paula Span's When the Time Comes offers a realistic look at the challenges of caring for an aging parent that is both hopeful and practical."―Peter Rabins, MD MPH, professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, co-author, THE 36-HOUR DAY
"Paula Span has animated the landscape of today's
"A comprehensive and intelligent overview...This book serves as a perfect introduction for individuals anticipating the challenge of eldercare, as well as those in the midst of the experience. The author illustrates through poignant stories of older adults and families the stress, exhaustion and satisfaction woven into the caregiving experience. Warm, clear and refreshing."―Kenneth L. Minaker, MD, FRCP(C), CSC (GM), UE, Chief Geriatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital
"Useful for anyone facing one of the most difficult periods in their lives: how to deal with an aging, ailing parent who needs help inside or outside the home. Through interviews and anecdotes, Paula Span explores the many options available, provides comfort, answers questions, and helps you feel not so alone while making these monumental decisions."―Mary Ellen Geist, author of MEASURE OF THE HEART
Thank you, Paula. I'm going to give a copy of your book to all my children."―Dr. Jane Duhl, SilverPlanet.com
About the Author
Paula Span spent nearly 20 years at the Washington Post, first as the New York-based correspondent for the Style section, then as a staff writer for the Washington Post Magazine. She has also written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York magazine, Glamour, Ms., Esquire, Parenting, People, and others. She is currently a contributing writer for the Washington Post Magazine and teaches journalism at Columbia University.
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Given these trends, author Paula Span’s 2008 book remains a timely if frustrating read. She profiles 12 seniors whose average age is 87 (the youngest is 71; the oldest is 96) who struggle with a variety of life-limiting conditions due to their medical problems (dementia, Parkinson’s) and general old-age frailties like arthritis, hearing and vision deficits, as well as motor skill and cognitive functioning declines. Some live at home with help, some live with family, while some transition to complexes that specialize in elder care.
Besides advanced age, these seniors (born between 1912-1937) also have in common a logic-defying resistance to making a change before they need it, with most being forced to accept new living arrangements due to a catastrophic medical emergency. It’s getting old by-the-seat-of-your-pants method, and it’s ugly and sad. I wish Span had found at least two seniors who anticipated their eventual decline – to see their future self versus their current self – and made a timely, rational, healthy and supportive change.
For a primer on how not to age well, I highly recommend this book.