Jane Gross, who writes on aging for the New York Times, shows the current state of our broken Elder Care system in A Bitter-Sweet Season. Gross uses her own mother’s decline and death as a case study to make her arguments. Gross’s mother was in her 80s, living independently in Florida when a tumor was found on her spine. Jane Gross and her brother, Michael, move their mother to an assisted living center near them in New York City. From the beginning, things go wrong and the Grosses make Bad Decisions despite their Good Intentions. Moving their mother north meant finding new doctors. Doctors tend not to take on elderly patients covered by Medicare. Jane Gross’s mother’s health care was a jumble of specialists and fragmented testing. ER visits became more numerous. The spiral of more health problems got worse.
If you want a book to help you understand our current, lame, healthcare system A Bitter-Sweet Season accomplishes this in detail. Medicaid, Medicare, long-term health insurance plans, living wills, health care proxies, and dozens of other topics are explored in detail. By seeing the mistakes Jane Gross and her brother made in trying to care for their aging parent, we can all learn how to do it better. And we can start to plan for our own aging issues so that we don’t burden our children or relatives with draconian decisions. GRADE: A