Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver (Paperback)
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". . . makes you feel as though a kindred soul is speaking to you." --Readers' Favorite At the age of sixty, Gretchen Staebler promises to spend one year in her childhood home caring for her stubbornly independent ninety-six-year-old mother--sort of a middle-aged gap year. Then her mother will move to assisted living and she will return to her own independent life. It doesn't go as planned. Rather than a retrospective, this mother-daughter story unfolds in real time with gripping honesty, bringing the reader along with the narrator through the struggle, doubts, and complexities of caregiving and daughterhood--and the beacons of light. Penetrating the fog of her mother's advancing dementia and myriad health issues with humor, frustration, and compassion--and wine--Staebler slowly comes to accept and respect the mother she got, if not the one she wished for. In the process, she manifests non-negotiable self-care and learns more than she wants to know about aging, cognitive loss, and the healthcare system. Any reader who is looking for a road map in caring for a family member, has ever had a mother, or is looking aging in the eye will find company on the journey in this candid, multi-award-winning memoir.