Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self

Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self

Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self

Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self

Synopsis

"Here, readers will gain a better understanding of their own lives and know they are not alone in the emotional struggles of caring for an aging patent. Distress can become peace of mind. Relationships that might be weakened by a caretaker rule - between caretakers and their children, spouses, and friends - can actually grow stronger with the experience." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Dr. Frances Cohen Praver has written an important book for a wide audience. It is a book about a phase of life that so many of us, in and out of the helping professions, are facing in a volume never seen in previous generations. As people live longer they face a myriad of serious problems that earlier and more sudden deaths had mitigated. Longer life is a very mixed blessing. On the one hand, there are obvious virtues—wisdom accumulated, passed down, and applied to interests and relationships, and the potential to share the wonderful riches of having born children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. On the other hand, living longer often means living with much physical/and or mental infirmity and pain, enduring great physical and emotional stressors that early and/or sudden death relieved one from.

In this context, perhaps the greatest downside of longer life is the stress that it places on one’s children, children who by default become parents to their own parents, while simultaneously negotiating the other difficulties of middle age, including caring for actual children. This is the population most directly addressed by Dr. Praver, in her effort as a psychologist and psychoanalyst, to both articulate the problems and aid those in the midst of what has become for many an acute contemporary dilemma.

Most of those in middle age grew up expecting to reap the fruits of hard work and to pass on to their children the accumulated personal and emotional riches. Caring for one’s aging and increasingly infirm parents has added a whole new dimension of worry and responsibility to this period of life. Such responsibility can produce enormous emotional and practical conflict between selfish pursuit of pleasure and self-sacrifice; attention to one’s spouse or lovers and the often wrenching emotional engagement with one’s parents, the needs of one’s chil-

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