The Daughter Trap: Taking Care Of Mom Dad.. And You

June 9, 2010

Recently ‘Dr. O’ reviewed  The Daughter TrapThe Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom Dad and You by Laurel Kennedy. Shortly after we experienced bit of a blog glitch and the review was tossed into the murky depths of the world wide web. So here is the review resposted again!

On this Friday before Mothers Day I am reminded that a boy’s first love is his mother. She certainly was mine. Mothering Sunday is a poignant day for me as I fondly recall my mother who passed away two years ago on Valentines Day. She survived my father by 10 years and was fortunate enough to spend those last years of her life in her own home, her mind intact.

My mother lived in South Wales, I live in Canada. Following my fathers death it was clear that any caregiving support would fall on the shoulders of my sisters, both of whom lived in close proximity to my mother. When one of my sisters sadly succumbed to cancer, my oldest sister became my mothers’ main caregiver.

Caring for an elderly parent is a challenge we will all eventually face. The average person is living 30 years longer than a century ago. With the advances of modern medicine people can live for many years with chronic illness with which they cannot function independently.

Logically men and women should have the same choices, more often that not, it doesn’t work out that way. Whilst it’s encouraging to see that a growing number of men are stepping into caregiver shoes, as in my own family’s case the burden of eldercare typically falls on daughters.

I was fortunate; together with my family we negotiated this new terrain successfully. More and more I and beginning to hear the frustration that many of my clients and friends experience as they struggle to find ideal solutions to their elder care problems.

Laurel Kennedy in her book The Daughter Trap offers a starting point for those who intend to become caregivers. It is also a great resource for private sector providers who are interested in applying their expertise in this growing field of elder–care in new and innovative ways.

In the Daughter Trap Laurel exposes the complex and overwhelming responsibility of elder care. The book explores how women become trapped in this role, why it happens and why they let it happen.

In interviews with over 200 care-giving women The Daughter Trap gives voice to the many trials and tribulations of elder care. Each chapter of the book is interwoven with personal quotes from many of these women. The words shared are strikingly honest and very effective in conveying the practical and emotional challenges of caring for aging parents.

The author explores the historic, social, financial and political roots of elder care and suggests concrete solutions and opportunities for change.

This is an emotionally difficult subject, but one that we cannot be excused from.Elder care has not yet quite captured the attention it deserves. As Laurel suggests, it needs a “caregiver superhero”- a “ poster child” someone who can generate a sense of urgency and public interest that this issue rightfully merits.

At a time when elder care touches one in five households when the over 65 population is growing four times faster than the under sixty five group and women are carrying a disproportionate share of the caregiving burden this is no longer issue for the back burner.

As ageing individuals we are beginning to realize that we face, at the very least, an uncertain future. We need to change attitudes towards older people across society at large. Each of us shares this responsibility. The Daughter Trap is a call to action… a spotlight on the fundamental imbalances in elder healthcare.

In the words of Laurel Kennedy, “Elder care is neither man’s issue nor a woman’s issue. It’s a human issue

I highly recommend this book.

The Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom and Dad …and You
Thomas Dunne Books, April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-38510-1, ISBN10: 0-312-38510-2,
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches, 320 pages

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