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When the Time Comes: Families with Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions Hardcover – June 10, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 America through the stories of adult children and their parents struggling with the challenges of being old-deciding where to live, understanding the choices that exist, recognizing the sacrifices and rewards families experience along the way. If you are anticipating this journey, or are already on the road, When the Time Comes will give you both perspective and information that will illuminate your way."―President, National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Phyllis Mensh Brostoff, CISW, CMC

"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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style (June 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446581135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446581134
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is an extremely well-researched and well-written book on a topic that's all too relevant for many people. On the one hand, it's a very practical and realistic look at the various problems, options and solutions Americans with aging parents encounter; and on the other, it's a vivid selection of stories with well-drawn characters and complex, interesting issues. If you are in this situation with a parent it's a font of information, but even if you're not (or at least not yet), it's a thoroughly compelling read. Nothing is sugarcoated here, but it's still comforting in a way, as I felt much better prepared and informed - in the face of very thorny issues - after reading it. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that should be read before you need it. When The Time Comes is a wonderful guide with real life stories that will help you make those hard decisions in caring for a parent or loved one. Paula provides the reader with up to date information on services, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as organizations and websites. Perhaps, it may even give you the opportunity to open a dialogue with your parent about what their hopes are for the future and what their wishes may be. I went through this twice with my parents and still found new advice in Paula's book. I would recommend this book to anyone who may be facing the challenge of becoming a caregiver.
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Format: Hardcover
I met Paula Span as a result of reading her article in the NY Times and communicating directly with her. The small excerpt in the book on me and my Dad is in the chapter "Moving In: Shared Living". The account of our situation is entirely accurate. Since then my father took a bad fall and broke his hip and femur, which required surgery. Since then, he has been unable to live with us, and we've had experience in two facilities. I found reading Paula's book very accurate on the different options people have. More important, her true life stories which make up most of the book bring these options to life and made for a very readable and enjoyable book to immerse oneself in.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buy this book. As the daughter of an 88-year old Alzheimer patient, I have read every book and article I could find on the topic of elderly parents; this one was the best by far. When I picked up this book, I was sad and fearful about the future for my mom. As I read it, my attitude quickly changed. These stories are deeply moving and meaningful. Author Paula Span's unfailing honesty transforms an unpleasant topic into a touching experience. Span confronts the real questions, the ones that other writers avoid or sugarcoat. If you have an elderly parent who needs your attention, this book will help you in countless ways. Even if you are not caring for an elderly parent, it is an inspiring book. I highly recommend it to every reader.
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Format: Hardcover
Another reviewer suggested you read this book before you need it. However, I have just finished reading it at the precise time when I need it, and my review is equally if not more enthusiastic. This wise and engaging book is turning out to be invaluable as I am helping my recently widowed mother consider a move to an assisted living facility. Thanks to the poignant characters and vibrant storytelling, it's much better than a so-called self-help book. Yet there's a lot of help to be found here as well. I keep referring back to "When the Time Comes," and not just because Paula Span is a friend and colleague. I suspect that others in my situation will find it equally useful and engaging.
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Format: Hardcover
Syndicated columnist, Ellen Goodman, praises Paula Span's book, saying that it "leads us on a compassionate and eyes-wide-open journey with families struggling to do the right thing." This book is not only important for adult children who need help understanding the options for their aging parents; it is also important for middle-aged parents--with or without aging relatives--so that they will be able to help their own children anticipate the options for them "when the time comes."

Just as Dr. Spock's child-care book was once on everyone's bookshelf, so too should Span's elder-care book be.
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Format: Hardcover
Anytime is a great time to read this book, before you need it, when you need it, and even after you need it.

Thank you for such a beautiful book! My mother passed away December, 2008 frontal lobe dementia and parkinson's) at the young age of 70. She was in and out of hospitals, nursing homes and enjoyed an adult day care center before being enrolled in hospice (twice) (the last time for one week prior to her death). As a result of my experiences in assisting with her care I am leaving the legal profession and pursuing a career in assisted living.

I think your book is exceptional and will recommend it to my peers.
The web movies on your website depicting the characters in your book also complement the book beautifully!
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Format: Hardcover
What a relief to read this book and see how others are coping with a very difficult shared situation - a beloved elderly parent who needs a lot of help. Depending on where you are on the continuum, this book is either a clearheaded look at what's in store or a non-judgmental look back at the decisions we've already made about our parents' care.
You have to love a writer who, after reciting a particularly alarming fact, follows up with one word: "Yikes!"
I'd like to loan this book to everybody in the same situation I'm in with an elderly parent but I can't give it up. They'll just have to buy it themselves.
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