The Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom and Dad... and You

The Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom and Dad... and You

4.5 7
by Laurel Kennedy

In the tradition of The Feminine Mystique and Backlash, a groundbreaking look at a social cyclone heading straight for Boomer women

Twenty-five percent of Baby Boomers now have a senior parent living with them, and almost a third of American workers care for their parents. But what no one has pointed out, until now, is that Boomer


In the tradition of The Feminine Mystique and Backlash, a groundbreaking look at a social cyclone heading straight for Boomer women

Twenty-five percent of Baby Boomers now have a senior parent living with them, and almost a third of American workers care for their parents. But what no one has pointed out, until now, is that Boomer eldercare responsibilities usually fall on the daughters, who are also often caught between the competing demands of a working spouse, school-aged kids and a full-time career.

The Daughter Trap is the first book on the market to simply say it like it is: women get stuck in the caretaker role—whether they like it or not; and whether they’re prepared for it or not. The author shows how this happens over and over again and explores why women let it happen. Drawing on years of original research, as well as interviews with business leaders and the personal stories of individual women, The Daughter Trap not only identifies the problem but also provides concrete and actionable solutions with takeaway lessons readers can apply to their own lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Is caring for elderly parents the responsibility of families, government, nonprofit groups, religious organizations, business, the community—or all of the above? Kennedy, founder of the Boomer consulting firm Age Lessons, says “all of the above” in this scattershot polemic, not quite a call to arms and not quite a practical guide for adults facing the problems of helping older parents near the end of life. The author's argument that daughters, or daughters-in-law, are the primary caregivers for elderly parents, is contradicted by a Met Life survey she cites showing that 40% of caregivers are men; as well, she devotes a chapter to sons who provide care. Kennedy asserts that the women who fought for child-care services 30 years ago should now form a movement for elder care, yet that child care movement was far less successful than she claims. Most of the book argues points that are already obvious to caregivers, yet the part of her case that is aimed more at policymakers is too thin to be persuasive. Her practical suggestions are scattered and often dependent on persuading businesses to support caregiving employees. (Apr.)

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

LAUREL KENNEDY is a nationally recognized expert on Boomer issues. Founder of the Boomer consulting firm Age Lessons, she has also worked as a senior executive with Edelman Worldwide and Ketchum for clients like Kraft, Kellogg, Pepsi, and Sara Lee. Kennedy has appeared on national television including CNBC and Comcast TV. She’s appeared as an expert witness in the Superior Courts, and as speaker before numerous industry and employer groups. She has won dozens of awards for her work, including the National Telly and Silver Anvil awards. She lives in Chicago.

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The Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom and Dad... and You 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
AgeWiseLiving More than 1 year ago
So many readers of the AgeWiseLiving newsletter tell me that they share my newsletter with their kids so their kids will know how to take care of them. So in honor of Mother's Day, I asked Laurel Kennedy to write an article about how to raise caring kids - for the kid's future as well as their parents'. Laurel Kennedy, author of The Daughter Trap, knows her stuff! Her article was every bit as insightful as her book. If you're a caregiving daughter, you'll want this book. Barbara E. Friesner
DaleC More than 1 year ago
If you are a woman over the age of 40, you need to read The Daughter Trap! No matter how informed and proactive we believe ourselves to be, there is one certainty. None of us are prepared for the nitty-gritty realities of our parents aging. The Daughter Trap explores the impact of eldercare falling on the daughter. I like the way the book is broken into 2 sections, "The Problem" and "The Solution", offering examples and scenarios, but also resources, insight and a call to action. Author Laurel Kennedy includes over 200 first-hand accounts by caregivers as she walks us through a myriad of eldercare issues, probing deep, always asking why? Why is there a cultural expectation of the daughter as sole caregiver? Why do"employers ignore it, parents expect it, and women accept it?" Kennedy acknowledges caregiving can be a wonderful loving opportunity. But, due to the realities of aging and eldercare, she urges us to expand our thinking about our role and options for our parents (and ourselves). You will walk away with ideas for balancing caregiving with family, work responsibilities and personal needs. Some of the chapters that make this book unique in content are the chapters on dealing with sibling rivalry, caring for in-laws, the male caregiver, and dealing with physicians and hospitals. In each chapter, Kennedy carefully presents the issues, available resources and "lessons learned". The chapter on physicians and hospital should be a wake-up call for each of us and our medical community. Learn about the "medical home" and why it is so critical for your parent's well-being. I found the last section of the book, "The Solution", to be a real gem. Find out about new housing alternatives for the elderly, model eldercare programs offered by a few innovative employers, and the potential benefits of new technology to aid in eldercare. If you are an employer or can give input to your employer, I urge you to carefully read the chapter, "It Takes a Company." I immediately thought back 5 years when I helped an employee through a very difficult situation in caring for her mother. Corporate support would have made a world of difference for her and me! In summary, I highly recommend Kennedy's book to help you be informed, inspired, and provoked to action! It's a book you'll want to read and re-read, share with family and friends, and keep handy as a resource.
mmmcdill More than 1 year ago
This book has given myself and my family real world and practical recommendations to face the challenges we had with my fathers age related illness and my mother's needs after the loss of my father. It is hard to imagine you are not alone in this experience and knowing what to do and how to make the right decisions become all consuming. Thank you for showing me I am not alone in this ever growing issue of my aging parents. That alone gives me some hope and guidance to get though this experience with out going completely crazy.
CaregiverCoach More than 1 year ago
I've heard that having a daughter is the best predictor of an elder not ending up in a nursing home. However, I haven't read much beyond the staggering statistics or about why this is so. Finally, here is a book that addresses this social malady head on. Laurel Kennedy not only lays out the facts and personal interviews of women who are already working several jobs (work, household and child care); she explores the family dynamics that keep this unfair practice entrenched. Thank you for a powerful and timely book!
Boomertoboomeronlinedotca More than 1 year ago
If you are a caring for an aging parent you will find a lot of answers to why you often feel 'trapped', as well as inadequate, invisible and frustrated. Laurel Kennedy offers high-quality insights into why this is, in her newly released book The Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom, Dad.and You. These insights are invaluable to today's family caregiver and reason alone to pick up this intelligible and easy to read book. It will be especially attractive to those who are puzzled as to why this 'labour of love' feels so burdensome. Since caregivers typically have little time to spare because of their own life commitments and those brought on by their caregiving role, The Daughter Trap is made to order. The Daughter Trap is not a cumbersome read. You can pick it up and put it down and still learn from this book a few pages at a time. In all respects The Daughter Trap is a call to action for caregivers, to unite and become visible and for health care systems, corporate America and communities, to recognize their own need to change in order to support the unavoidably growing number of family caregivers. Through insights garnered from hundreds of personal interviews with family caregivers, a sound message of hope based on questions asked and ideas for change, emerges through The Daughter Trap.
Dr_Marion More than 1 year ago
THE DAUGHTER TRAP by Laurel Kennedy is a must-read for anyone who is either now, or may be in the future, a caregiver for the elderly in their lives. The chapters carefully outline The Problems and then gives one hope, encouragement and guidance with The Solutions. Best of all, the author constantly reassures the reader that we are not alone and that there are answers. Although the title talks about daughters, this is also a good book for the men in your life. Marion Somers, Ph.D. AKA Dr. Marion, author of ELDER CARE MADE EASIER
Reader55PH More than 1 year ago
As so many Boomers face the task of caring for their elderly parents, The Daughter Trap reminds you that "you are not alone." Ms. Kennedy has interviewed over 200 women to share what they've done and felt. It's useful and supportive. Buy this book. I wish I had it when my parents' health started to decline.