Jane Gross Interview: “On Being” Radio Program

For some time now I’ve listed Jane Gross’ book, A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves, as my current read, even though I finished reading it two months ago. I’ve kept the book posted because it is a compelling and real-life description of what it takes — the agony, challenge, love, collaboration, and commitment — to support an aging parent when that person needs additional, day-to-day, support from an adult child.

Jane Gross was a guest on Krista Tippett’s public radio program, On Being. The episode, The Far Shore of Aging, features Gross discussing her book, and she also describes how we caregivers need to take care of ourselves as well as our parents and family members. The program is available as a podcast via iTunes, or it is possible to listen right at the On Being website, where additional resources and reading recommendations on this program and many others are available. Gross created the New Old Age blog at the New York Times.

Read about Krista Tippett and the radio show. Read about Jane Gross.

If you are a bit timid about religion, do not be timid about Tippett’s radio program, a weekly exploration that focuses on ethical life conversations and features all sorts of people describing their spiritual, but not necessarily religious, lives. I download On Being podcasts to my listening library on a regular basis. On her website Tippet notes:

On Being is a spacious conversation — and an evolving media space — about the big questions at the center of human life, from the boldest new science of the human brain to the most ancient traditions of the human spirit.

3 thoughts on “Jane Gross Interview: “On Being” Radio Program

  1. A year ago my Mom was sole caregiver for my Dad, who’d developed anesthesia-induced dementia following open heart surgery the year before. She did all the driving, shopping, and cooking and was an active member of a book club. I’ve been involved in advocating for her daily for a year as she’s undergone leaving her home for assisted living, then changing assisted living residences, had eight hospital admissions, and three rehab admissions. None of this has been done frivolously; in twelve months she’s had multiple falls, two broken ribs resulting in having her gall bladder removed (what?), two broken vertebrae, kyphoplasty, a concussion, a pacemaker implant, a three-week bout of delirium, multiple UTIs (manifesting as sudden confusion), pneumonia and atrial fib.

    A week after Dad’s death, she was hospitalized for pneumonia. After a six-day hospitalization, we were disappointed that she was discharged to a rehab/skilled nursing facility rather than being returned to her room in assisted living. We were assured it would be for a week or two. I had been satisfied with the level of care at the rehab/nursing home facility until she developed C. diff, which took a week to diagnose. She had a neuropathic reaction to the C. diff, couldn’t move because of the pain, only wanted to stay in bed because she was freezing, and developed bed sores. It’s been three weeks since physical therapy was discontinued, and she’s lost flexibility in both feet, which are immobilized in non-friction boots.

    Is this an inevitable decline? Is C. diff inevitable for an elderly patient with multiple admissions to hospitals/nursing care? Are bedsores inevitable? Rather than paying a third month’s rent for her unoccupied studio in assisted living, I made the very emotional decision to give up her space. My brothers both died in their 40s and we’re 800 miles and many years removed from community support, so I’m it. Despite good talks with nursing staff, palliative care nurses, and social workers, I’m still confused and overwhelmed. Help?

  2. You have a lot to deal with. Have you considered retaining a geriatric case manager to help you? Here the link to the professional association of geriatric case managers (http://www.caremanager.org/). Paying for even a few hours might help you navigate some of these situations.

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