Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self

Overview

With medical science, health care, and healthy lifestyles extending our lifespans as never before, more and more midlife adults are finding themselves caring for their aging parents. This role can trigger not only logistical and financial challenges, but also great emotional upheaval. There is a reversal of roles as the child—often in the midst of raising his or her own adolescent or young adult offspring—becomes the caretaker of the parent. A parent's aging and mortality elicits strong feelings of loss, and a ...

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Overview

With medical science, health care, and healthy lifestyles extending our lifespans as never before, more and more midlife adults are finding themselves caring for their aging parents. This role can trigger not only logistical and financial challenges, but also great emotional upheaval. There is a reversal of roles as the child—often in the midst of raising his or her own adolescent or young adult offspring—becomes the caretaker of the parent. A parent's aging and mortality elicits strong feelings of loss, and a stark realization of one's own aging and mortality. Past, present, and future paths converge, and the caretaker is at the center of that crossroads. Psychologist Praver—a specialist working with such caretakers—shows us their inner worlds, and how they used a difficult point in their lives to embark on a journey of self-understanding and self-transformation—a journey toward a more meaningful life for themselves.

Readers can gain a better understanding of their own lives— and know they are not alone in their struggles to contend with and find powerful benefits from the emotional side of caring for an aging parent. Distress can become peace of mind, as we see in the stories of men and women who sought Praver's help. Relationships that might be weakened by a caretaker role—relationships between caretakers and their children, spouses, and friends—can actually grow stronger with the experience. Profound issues affecting caretakers are shared in this evocative book, which is an enlightening and enjoyable read.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Unlike most other books on caring for an aging parent, this one emphasizes the opportunities for middle-aged caregivers to grow and change as they negotiate the demands of aging parents and, often at the same time, those of their increasingly independent adolescent and young adult children. Praver, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who works primarily with the middle aged, enlivens the text with anecdotes and examples drawn from her therapy practice. The dominant theme is the need for the middle-aged person to put "his own house in order" and care for and understand himself so that he can better care for his family members. Issues such as guilt, relationships with siblings, unfinished family business, and role reversal are all topics of discussion. Though lacking an effective structure, this book is still insightful. Public libraries will want to purchase it for the many baby boomers now facing these problems and seeking guidance.-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275981839
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/2004
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

FRANCES COHEN PRAVER, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst working primarily with middle-aged people and couples caring for aging parents. She has appeared on television shows including Good Morning America and The Phil Donahue Show, and has lectured on trauma and traumatic stress in Grand Rounds at several hospitals.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
1 My story 1
2 Getting your house in order 3
3 Role reversal 29
4 Diverse role demands 47
5 Emotions evoked 65
6 Dark feelings in the spotlight 77
7 Guilt, guilt, and more guilt 85
8 Caring for your self 95
9 Problems from the past 101
10 Unfinished family business 109
11 The burden is on you 117
12 Long-distance caring 123
13 Handle with care 127
14 The setting sun 139
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