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Publisher's Summary

In this book, author and biologist Marcy Houle shares her personal journey of caring for her father, a surgeon, who developed Alzheimer's disease, and later her mother, who succumbed to other medical conditions.

Like many children of aging parents, Marcy often felt powerless traveling this sad trajectory - watching them fall through the cracks of a fragmented and confusing healthcare system, where professionals often wrote off their symptoms as "just old age". The tragic secret? According to coauthor and geriatrics physician Elizabeth Eckstrom, these symptoms frequently are not "just old age". Rather, the problem is that the current healthcare delivery model for older people is ill-equipped to provide the comprehensive, person-centered care seniors need. Today, thousands of aging people face unnecessary suffering, hospitalizations, nursing home stays, and even death due to complications that could have been prevented or treated.

The Gift of Caring reveals these pitfalls and provides families with tools they can use to avoid them. Dr. Eckstrom shares professional medical insights into what Marcy could have done to safeguard her parents, and shows how we can become our loved one's best advocate.

©2015 Marcy Cottrell Houle and Elizabeth Eckstrom (P)2016 Tantor

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  • Overall
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must read for those with aging parents

If you have aging parents, (with or without dementia) this book provides very useful information and guidance. The story combined with the informational chapters is a great way to explain things. Everyone should read it as their parents/family members are getting older and needing more help. It unfortunately is directed more to people with good financial resources. It would have been very helpful to provide pointers for those with limited resources. It would have been helpful to hear ideas for the aging parents who are difficult to deal with- those that are not aging as pleasantly /suffering more of an aggressive behavior as they decline.

The information on delirium was excellent, more people should be aware of this problem especially in the elderly.

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Classist- only helpful if you have lots of money

The advice they give requires being able to hire full time servants and casually fly private planes. If that's you, great! They acknowledge that there is a problem in geriatric care, but with no systems level of understanding of why that is and who it hurts most.

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A Poignant point of view that ALL medical .....

A poignant point of view that ALL medical professionals should not miss.
As a RN case manager and ICU Trauma Nurse for many years....I found this to be very enlightening and reinvigorating to my sense of empathy.