Explores the mother-daughter relationship in the context of caregiving
Across the Unites States, about 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. Much of this caregiving is performed by women and often for their mothers or mothers-in-law, relationships that may be warm, fraught, or complicated. Even in the best of circumstances, caregivers can feel burned out, strained, and exhausted, but add to the mix the complicated emotions that come from caring for a loved one and you may have a perfect storm.
Here, Jeanne Lord provides valuable emotional support and information for daughter caregivers to mother patients during a stressful and uncertain time. It is unique in that it offers not only personal insights from caregiving daughters, but the perspectives of their mothers, as well. Lord followed the women on their journeys over the course of ten years, so the follow-up interviews give readers an opportunity to fast forward into the future lives of the caregiving daughters to read about their perspectives, and gain insights into new attitudes and ideas for life after caregiving.
Through compelling stories of a variety of mother-daughter relationships and in-depth interviews, the very complex relationships between mothers and daughters in a caregiving situation are explored and revealed in an objective light. Offering comfort and understanding to the reader, the book also offers suggestions, ideas, resources, and support for navigating the care of their loved one.
Jeanne R. Lord, PhD, began her career with a senior citizens nutrition program, followed by an appointment with the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension’s Adult Life and Aging Team. In addition, she taught at Northern Illinois University. In 2000, Lord returned to her Alma Mater, Eastern Illinois University, where she is currently a professor in the Department of Human Services and Community Leadership. During her tenure at EIU, she has also served as associate dean for ten years, and then as interim dean for one-year for the College of Health and Human Services. She has presented at numerous state, national, and international conferences and has published in professional journals. She has received university awards for teaching, research, service, and leadership.
Nearly 42-million Americans are caregivers to people 50 and older, most often their relatives. In this window onto women watching over women, usually their moms, Lord draws inspiration from her own mother and grandmother. A professor in the department of human services and community leadership at Eastern Illinois University, she interviews 10 pairs of givers and recipients twice, once years ago and then a decade later. Even more helpful are the practical tips. Lord provides a checklist for what do before moving an aging parent into one's home that is particularly helpful. Is there space? How will finances be handled? Where’s the senior center? She also compassionately reminds caregivers, who may be dealing with elderly relatives with rage, paranoia, hallucinations, and hearing loss, to take care of themselves and to seek resources, including the National Alliance for Caregiving. She ends with after-death advice, such as preventing identity theft by stopping Social Security checks and by sending copies of the death certificate to the major credit agencies. It can be comforting to feel prepared.
Dr. Jeanne Lord offers all older women a glimpse of their future—either as caregiving daughters or elder mothers receiving care from daughters. In A Journey for Two, we learn important life lessons from interviews with mothers and daughters gleaned over the course of their caring lives. This hard-won wisdom is coupled with the author’s practical advice for any mother or daughter embarking on the journey of family caregiving.