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Increasingly, in our personal and professional lives, we at Cardan Capital Partners are hearing about the challenges people are facing with elderly parents and grandparents. These can be frustrating, heartbreaking and hugely stressful situations further compounded by a lack of good options and seemingly few resources to assist with the complexities of healthcare costs and senior-living arrangements.

Caregivers often find an elder family member resistant to accepting help or resentful of the “control” over his or her life. This raises even more tough questions. How far should we push an aging parent to make changes, such as moving into an assisted-living facility, which may increase the length of life but not necessarily the quality? What should a child saving for retirement do when her parent or grandparent is running out of assets?

There are rarely easy answers to these dilemmas — but learning from the experiences of others is almost always valuable. That is why we recommend reading A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves.

Despite the heavy subject matter, this 2012 bestseller is a quick, engaging and even enjoyable read. It was suggested to us by a client who, along with her brother, has struggled to provide care for her recently widowed and disoriented mother. We believe A Bittersweet Season should be required reading not just for those in similar situations, but for everyone who wants to be prepared for what life has in store for us and those we love. We feel so strongly about the helpfulness of this book that we invite our clients to contact us to receive a free copy, courtesy of Cardan Capital Partners.

Written by Jane Gross, a New York Times expert on the subject of elderly care, the book explains what happened when she unexpectedly became her 85-year-old mother’s caretaker. Gross documented the complexities of their shared journey and the lessons she learned along the way. A Bittersweet Season provides detailed accounts of the challenges and frustrations of navigating healthcare, insurance, financial management and living arrangements for the elderly — and even how caretakers can and should provide for their own needs during what is often an emotionally draining time.

The book tackles a wide range of subjects, including:

  • the importance of securing a medical provider who specializes in geriatrics;
  • the biology, sociology and psychology of aging;
  • how to deal with Medicare and Medicaid (see Cardan Capital Partners’ series on Medicare enrollment);
  • the United States’ health care system’s efforts to address swelling demands for eldercare;
  • some of the potential pitfalls of moving an elderly parent to a new city to be closer to family;
    the stress and hidden workloads caretakers of their elderly parents often face.
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