What's the right thing to do for mom and dad as they get older?
Thanks to advances in science and medicine, more of our parents are living longer than ever before. And though we are rewarded with more time with the people we love, we are also faced with new sets of complications—more diseases, more disability, more need for support and careful judgments. Yet while our health care system may help people live to an older age, it doesn't perform so well when decline eventually sets in. We want to do the best thing but are overwhelmed with the staggering choices we face.
Geriatrician Dennis McCullough has spent his life helping families to cope with their parents' aging and eventual final passage, experiences he faced with his own mother. In this comforting and much-needed book, he recommends a new approach, which he terms "Slow Medicine."
Shaped by common sense and kindness, grounded in traditional medicine yet receptive to alternative therapies, Slow Medicine advocates for careful anticipatory "attending" to an elder's changing needs rather than waiting for crises that force acute medical interventions—an approach that improves the quality of elders' extended late lives without bankrupting their families financially or emotionally. As Dr. McCullough argues, we need to learn that time and kindness are sometimes more important and humane at these late stages than state-of-the-art medical interventions.
My Mother, Your Mother will help you learn how to:
—form an early and strong partnership with your parents and siblings;
—strategize on connecting with doctors and other care providers;
—navigate medical crises;
—create a committed Advocacy Team;
—reach out with greater empathy and awareness; and
—face the end-of-life time with confidence and skill.
Although taking care of those who have always cared for us is not an easily navigated time of life, My Mother, Your Mother will help you and your family to prepare for this complex journey. This is not a plan for getting ready to die; it is a plan for understanding, for caring, and for helping those you love live well during their final years. And the time to start is now.
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Dennis McCullough, M.D., has been a family physician and geriatrician for thirty years. He is the co-author of The Little Black Book of Geriatrics, and he lives with his wife, the poet Pamela Harrison, in Norwich, Vermont.Review:
“McCullough’s concept of ‘slow medicine’ is an example of that ethic of care in action...recommended for public libraries.” (Library Journal)
“A valuable book, chilling and comforting in equal measure. A similar book directed at fast doctors, fast hospital administrators and fast insurers might be the next welcome stride backward down the path.” (New York Times)
“Full of advice on how to get involved in [your parents’] care, and the kind of conversations you should have with their doctors. It’s also a warning about the medical profession’s alarming tendency toward ‘poly-pharmacy.’” (Maclean's)
“Appreciation of...My Mother, Your Mother...will, I think, depend on where you are on life’s highway. If...your parents are still living, this geriatrician’s guide to stepping in as escort, caregiver and advocate for your parent’s final journey will probably be comforting in its compassion and detail.” (St. Petersburg Times)
“As valuable a resource as any I’ve found.” (Jane Gross, New York Times)
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