“Unique and lovely. . . . How wonderful to have [Gross’s] mix of sage advice, pithy insights and practical discoveries at hand.” —Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“Nothing can fully prepare you for the overwhelming experience of caring for your elderly parents, but Jane Gross’s new book, A Bittersweet Season, comes awfully close . . . Gross is an incisive critic of our systems and institutions.” —The Seattle Times
“A forthright story and trenchant advice. . . . Intimate and affecting.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A smart and highly detailed book about navigating the complex eldercare system as it related to healthcare, insurance and end of life. . . . The kind of book social workers might suggest to the family who craves more perspective about the logistical issues mentioned above. . . . Readers will find they are engaged by how much they learn in reading Gross’s account.” —Psychology Today
"Hugely informative, and a gripping read." —Betty Rollin, author of Last Wish
“A Bittersweet Season is sure to become required reading for anyone with an elderly parent who depends on long-term care. It's also a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in America's health care system as it braces for the demands posed by demographic changes that include a sharp rise in the group now termed the "old old." —The Huffington Post
“An invaluable guide. . . . Excellent. . . . . Jane Gross has taken her own painful experiences and worked hard to give needed help to us all.” —Commonweal Magazine
"With great insight and empathy, Jane Gross guides us through one of the most difficult of all life transitions—the decline and death of our parents. Not only does she provide a wonderfully helpful guide for how and what to do, and when. She also enables us to understand what our parents need, and what we ourselves need, during this passage.” —Robert B. Reich, author of Aftershock
“This is tough stuff, and Gross writes movingly about the toll it takes on her and other caregivers. . . . She’s serious about documenting the often hidden workload borne by middle-aged daughters and sons.” —The Boston Globe
“A Bittersweet Season deals with a sobering topic. But the narrative is so lively and informative that readers will come away feeling more prepared than pessimistic . . . An intelligent guide to handling the onset of old age with sagacity and sensitivity.” —BookPage
“This book is an invaluable and comprehensive primer on what most Americans will face soon. Its honest and loving message is to prepare yourself now.” —Jeff Madrick, author of Age of Greed
“Readers may pick up this very well-written book to learn about taking care of their own ailing parents, but will soon realize that it’s also a wake-up call to become educated in order to make informed decisions about their own inevitable aging.” —The New York Jewish Week
“A Bittersweet Season is a brave and compelling book by a masterful storyteller.” —Carol Levine, director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund
A New York Timesreporter helps readers face a final, difficult journey.
Americans are living longer than ever before, and most senior citizens will eventually become dependent on others for care. Gross offers advice for those alreadycaring for their aging and dying parents and issues a wake-up call to those who think they are prepared should the time come. Her tone is straightforward, but not cold or clinical, when she shares the heartbreaking story of her aging mother, who died in a nursing home. With well-written and researched prose, Gross debunks misconceptions about assisted-living facilities and offers eye-opening anecdotes about Medicare and Medicaid, including how her own upper-middle-class mother ended up on Medicaid and virtually penniless due to health-care costs.The author also gives gentle guidance for understanding the biology and psychology of aging and ways the adult child can best help the parent. For some readers, the most uncomfortable part of the book will be Gross' mother's choice to die by refusing to eat or drink. This may be controversial, but the subject is not treated lightly, and many conversations occurred beforehand. With a poignant, honest voice, the author recalls her mother's suffering. This book will remind readers that quality-of-life issues are important, and will hopefully prompt those types of discussions. There are no easy answers here, because there are none.
A thought-provoking resource for end-of-life care.