Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents Into Their Old Age

Judy Kramer, Author
Judy Kramer, Author Riverhead Books $24.95 (238p) ISBN 978-1-57322-163-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-57322-880-0
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Beginning as a series of newspaper columns recording how she cared for her parents, Kramer's work blossomed into a poignant book that plumbs the depths of love, loss and the ties that bind. ""At times, traveling with my parents into their old age has felt like a forced march,"" she observes. ""Often I have not wanted to go. But it gives me great satisfaction that we have dealt with the roadblocks, followed the detours, found the route, and made the trip together."" The core of Kramer's book charts the course of their intertwined lives, from the point she began taking over the caregiver role--managing her parents' finances, driving them to doctors' appointments, helping them move to a nursing home and so on, all while working full-time and caring for her own family--through their deaths within two months of each other and the unexpected difficulties she had navigating the shoals of grief. Along the way, Kramer had to learn everything from what a durable power of attorney is to how to deal with bureaucratic complications, negotiate the vagaries of medicaid, step back when her parents made choices she felt weren't the wisest and find innovative ways to make their lives more comfortable (such as using a music stand to stabilize books that shaky hands could no longer hold). Kramer shares her frustrations and triumphs with candor; her memoir should resonate with anyone facing similar experiences. (Sept.)
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