A Bittersweet Season— An appreciation of Jane Gross’s seminal book on caregiving

We basically have a caregiving section on the blog because of this book.  Jane Gross presents the issues that she and her brother encountered when faced with her mother’s declining health.  After reading her book, we realized we had advice to share as well, as each caregiving experience is so different, and each with its own sets of challenges. 

In fact, in our more than 10 years of marriage, we have never not had caregiving in our thoughts— first for my father, mother, and brother, then Jim’s father, and now his mother. 

So we identified thoroughly with Jane’s description of the journey.  Jane, writer and founder of the New York Times blog The New Old Age, and her brother Michael Gross, a bestselling author, felt that they were professionals and they could handle it.  But as their mother’s health declined and care needs expanded, they discovered how much they didn’t know about entitlement programs (“What do you mean Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of home care or assisted living or a nursing home?”) and so much more. 

As she wrote, “I want to try to make sure that adult children, our ranks growing, are not as isolated and ignorant as my brother and I were, lurching from crisis to crisis without enough reflection, information, or support. Maybe I can help other sons and daughters empathize with the growing mountain of loss in their parent’s lives, make peace with an unwelcome role reversal, and adjust to the changed architecture of their families. Maybe I can set an example for how to finish unfinished business.”

The book covers so much important ground including the “Myth of Assisted Living” where she explains how if your parents progress beyond a certain care need, assisted living is no longer an option, as they have progressed to a higher— and more expensive— of level of care.

We could go on and on about the wisdom shared in this book.  It inspired us to share our own stories, and after that, other stories that we’ll present in the caregiving section of our blog.

Here’s a link to buy A Bittersweet Season on Amazon…..


Here’s a good interview with Jane from the AARP website:


Or listen to this podcast from On Being:



Add yours
  1. 1
    Isabelle Bosquet-Morra

    This is a subject my husband and I have neglected to address so far. Thank you for the necessary wake-up call.

+ Leave a Comment