Combining expert knowledge and first-hand experience, a noted elder care researcher confronts the long-distance care of her own mother.
Winner of a Gold Medal, 2017 Living Now Book Award in the Caregiving category
Shortlisted for the 2016 Sarton Women’s Book Awards in the Memoir category presented by the Story Circle Network
For millions of Americans caregiving is the “new normal.” For Laura Katz Olson, a respected researcher of long-term care for the aging, Elder Care Journey chronicles the disruption of her world and how it is upended by the ever-increasing long-distance needs of her own mother.
A healthy, Senior Olympics medal winner, Olson’s mother is slowly and steadily incapacitated by Parkinson’s disease and a gradual loss of vision. Thrust into a long-distance caregiving role, Olson finds her previous academic notions about assisting a frail parent increasingly at odds with the reality of the lived experience. In a narrative full of “ah-ha!” moments, tears, sighs, and outrage that will be familiar to many, Olson opens a window into the nursing home and home care industries that consume much in the way of taxpayer dollars, but often fail to deliver quality care. Olson’s personal story vividly demonstrates not only the overwhelming bureaucratic barriers faced by care-dependent seniors but also their beleaguered adult children’s attempts to ensure their parents’ health, safety, and well-being.
About the Author
Laura Katz Olson is Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University and the author and editor of many books, including The Politics of Medicaid and The Not-So-Golden Years: Caregiving, the Frail Elderly, and the Long-Term Care Establishment. She lives in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
1 The Precarious Situation of the 1950s Woman 1
2 Athlete to Cane: The Elusive Search for a Disease 9
3 The Reluctant Long-Distance Caregiver 17
4 Coping with Blindness 29
5 From Crisis to Crisis 41
6 The Bottom Falls Out 59
7 From Bad to Worse: Rehabilitation to Debilitation 73
8 Through the Looking Glass 87
9 A Place in Pennsylvania 95
10 Navigating Our Way Home 103
11 Reports of Her Death Are Greatly Exaggerated 117
12 A Good Enough Place 125
13 A Nursing Home Daughter 139
14 Peeling the Onion: A Glimpse into Long-Term Care Provider Ownership 149
15 Conclusion: The Future of Long-Term Care 167