I obtained a copy of Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents by Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW. The following review is based on my opinion after having read the book.
This is a very comprehensive guidebook that will help steer you through the most tenuous of feelings and circumstances you might encounter in being the caregiver to your aging parents. Waichler uses her own voice and experiences to relay to her audience what to expect physically, mentally and emotionally. She provides coping mechanisms and sound advice.
“Still none of this seemed real to me. How could he be gone? I realized that from this moment on, the decisions being made would be ours only – my siblings’ and mine. Dad’s voice was gone.”
When a parent passes, one realizes many things they must deal with daily – the grief, anger and fear of not having that parent around for advice, words of wisdom or anything else. Not only does one have to make decisions and have intimate knowledge of your parents’ wishes but also of their past. This will ultimately help you understand the why of their actions.
“And then I heard dad say in the background, “I think we should tell Iris what’s going on.” Having to deal with parents who want to protect you until their dying breath is a common occurrence that often times leaves the child even angrier and more hurt. But this is important to recognize, parents are like this!
Although I never saw much of what my own parents went through caring for their parents, the parts I did see and know about were outlined in this book – things to expect when caring for a parent or other loved one, daily challenges, and so much more. Now that my mother is coming to live with me and my husband, I am delighted to have read this book. It came at a very opportune and important time. I have already come to realize that when mom has been angry with me it is because I took her power away and treated her not as the adult she is but rather as a small child. Waichler clearly explains that it is important that they “save face.”
Waichler describes her journey and experiences clearly and with emotional depth that will bring tears to your eyes and an “Oh” as well. This is the most all-inclusive guide book anyone can find that is readable and caring. The book alone is a wonderful resource; Waichler advises each person to build a network of support for themselves and their parents.
Waichler’s writing is strong and concise in a down-to-earth style; she flows from one topic to another in an organized manner. She is insightful, kind and generous in her sharing whether it leaves her in a positive light or not. She speaks truthfully and thoroughly. The last few weeks with my father was made clearer with reading this book. There were so many things he did and said both before and during his illness that when he passed away my sister and I were left dumbfounded and hurt. I am passing this book along to my sister to help her heal.
I wish I had read this book before, perhaps I would have understood things better with dad but with mom, I feel much more prepared. Parents don’t live forever, prepare yourself so you can be a blessing to them.
WordsAPlenty proudly gives this book a five-star rating for its handling of sensitive material, as well as, the depth and caring that this book demonstrates not only for the parents but for the adult children left behind.
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