Jane Gross, a reporter for the New York Times and contributor to “The New Old Age Blog”, has written A Bittersweet Season—Caring for our Aging Parents—and Ourselves. In this just-published book, she tells the story of caring for her aging mother. At the same time, she offers advice and strategy for those who find themselves in a similar situation.
In the book, Gross describes a “talking board” that she and her brother got for her mother when her speech deteriorated. The board was programmed so that when her mother pushed a button, the board would say (in the recorded voice of her son), “I want tea,” or “I’m cold.” Gross and her brother offered her the chance to have two of the buttons say whatever she wanted. She chose “Get Out of My Room” for one, and “You’ll be old someday too, you know,” for the other.
I was struck by her second choice because when I see people who disrespect the elderly, I often think, “You’ll be old someday too.” But then I add a second thought, “If you’re lucky.”