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By 2030, there will be a record 71 million Americans aged 65 and older and the majority will need some sort of long-term care, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Francine Russo is a widely recognized journalist known for her alertness to developing trends, especially in her own boomer generation.

They’re Your Parents, Too! Caring For Aging Parents: Book Review


Sibling Rumble

They're Your Parents, Too! Francine Russo

How Sibilings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy

By 2030, there will be a record 71 million Americans aged 65 and older and the majority will need some sort of long-term care, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Several years ago I considered myself a member of what was referred to as the “sandwich generation.” Esteemed members are those who are parents of young children, yet are facing the responsibility of being caretakers for their aging parents. 

NanaIn my case, I became the caretaker of my elderly grandmother, who lived to be 101.  Yes, I come from a family with very strong genes.  My grandmother, born in 1901,  was the oldest of 9 children, and just about outlived them all.

My grandmother, who never spent a day in the hospital in her life, was quite independent, living alone in a senior citizen apartment until she was 95.  A good life, and natural aging caught up with her, and I had to apply to the probate court for conservatorship. Eventually she was admitted to a convalescent home nearby.

I recently had the opportunity to review an informative book by Francine Russo, “They’re Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy” (Bantam Books, New York)

Francine Russo is a widely recognized journalist known for her alertness to developing trends, especially in her own boomer generation.  For nearly a decade Russo covered the boomer beat for Time magazine.  She brings a rich personal history to her writing as a daughter, sister, wife, widow, mother of two, and stepmother of three.  She has a Ph.D in English and lives in Manhattan.

In the book, Russo draws on her own experiences as well as those of dozens of families, healthcare works and assisted living experts to get to the heart of the matter:  what it costs – financially, physically and emotionally – to become your parents’ caregiver.

My daughter is currently a Marketing Director for an assisted living facility here in Connecticut and deals on a daily basis with the tribulations of adult children making life-altering decisions such as those described by Russo. Always close to her great-grandmother, as a teen she was quite aware of the tremendous pressure I was under.  I think this experience has aided in her success as a Director of the facility.

In the book, Russo addresses:

  • Communicating more constructively to escape the “anger/built gridlock”
  • How to reach consensus when siblings disagree about their parents needs:  overcoming denial and “distrusting the messanger.”
  • How sibilings can be in it “together,” even long-distance, when one is doing almost all of the caregiving.

My brother lives out of state and caught up in his own career.  Although we consulted on what course of treatment was best for my grandmother, the bulk of the  responsibility fell on me –  a parent of two teenagers at the time, who also worked full-time.

Caring for dependent elderly parents or grandparents can be one of the most isolating experiences most people ever have to face. Becoming a carer can sometimes be rewarding, but it’s hardly ever easy. It can be a very lonely life, and friends can start to disappear when you’re not so readily available for evenings out, etc. Even those who stay the course can find it hard to listen to the things you feel the need to talk about, and you’re likely to find their conversation very trivial compared to what you’re dealing with.

The author touches on topics that siblings of aging parents need to know that it’s essential that primary caregivers get some time off. This is absolutely vital, and not likely to be offered unless you make a point of saying that you need it. It’s no reflection on your abilities as a carer, or your love for the person that you’re caring for, but you need to take at least some care of yourself if you’re going to take effective care of anybody else.

Caring for someone can very tiring, both physically and emotionally, so you need to be able to recharge your batteries as often as you can, in order to avoid falling victim to depression yourself.

You have a life, as well, and the right to some enjoyment.

The author further discusses opportunities for reconciliation even when sibiling tensions still simmer after parents die, while reinventing the family and sustaining the family connection into the future.

I highly recommend this book, and suggest that if you’re currently in a position with aging relatives, to read it and circulate it to your family members.  Oftentimes it’s easier to make a subliminal point rather than have a face-to-face confrontation over responsibilities.

I’m going to make certain that my own adult children read it.

ISBN: 978-0-553-80699-1
Pages: 286
MSRP: $26

Moomette’s Magnificents  is hosting a Giveaway Contest! For a chance to win, there will be one (1) winner of the book DO IT OR AGE QUICKLY: 60-Second Practices to Live Better, Stronger, and Longer by personal wellness trainer and martial artist JB Berns.

Please include a way of contacting you. Should you be the contest winner, this information may be shared with the contest sponsor in order to send your prize.

Main Rule:   (remember if this rule is not followed then no others will count)
a) Sign up for my free Newsletter Updates to my blog through my e-mail Feedblitz link (on the top of my right column or let me know if you already are, in a separate comment) AND

b) Share whether you or someone you know will be or has ever experienced the responsibility of caring for aging relatives and how you or they were affected by it.

This contest will run until March 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm.

For Additional Entries, check out my Contest Entry Rules.


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About Cindi Moomettes

New England blogger and influencer from Connecticut and author of the multi-generational Moomettes Magnificents where she writes about Family, Grandparents and Grandchildren, home decor, Crochet, Knitting, DIY, crafts, family travel familiarization trips (FAMs), photography, social media and reviews. You can also find her at Moomettes Crochet Shop for the latest Handmade Fashion trends, Home Decor, Handmade Crochet Wash Cloths & Accessories. For food and recipes visit at her blog Frugal New England Kitchen ***Products and/or companies featured on Moomettes Magnificents may have provided product samples and/or compensation for consideration. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. See also Disclosure***


  1. Perfect timing for me to read this book!

  2. Email subscriber.

  3. My mother had to take care of her mother in law. It was hard in my mom to see her that way but they were able to mend fences from earlier problems between them.

  4. It’s just me taking care of my mother who is 80 and had been diagnosed with cancer. It’s tough, but I know how much she sacrificed for me and still does. My family members are all out of town, but come to help to give me a break once in a while. How blessed am I?
    .-= Look at what ConnieFoggles hopes you’ll read: …Our Handmade Gifts Custom Pendant Review and Giveaway =-.

  5. Thanks for this great book review. My grandmother lived with us for years and this was the norm at the time.

  6. I am an e-mail subscriber.

  7. Great book reveiw :-)

  8. Great review. Neat sounding book

  9. My brother and I are currently assisting with our 82 1/2 year old Father!

  10. My sister and I have our father in a nursing home and our grandmother is coming to live in the same nursing home. This would be a good book to read.

  11. We have already been thru this with hubbs parents but he has 3 siblings and spouses to help. U am just beginning to go thru it with my parents and all 3 brothers live to far away to be of much help. I would love to read this because I need all the help I can get.

  12. Facebook Fan-Sheila C Branyon

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  17. Already an email subscriber to Moomette’s Magnificents.

  18. About 10 years ago my mother-in-law bacame ill and needed extra care after she went home from the hospital. My father-in-law did a wonderful job for as long as he could. We lived 1,000 miles away so we weren’t able to be there as much as we wanted. Looking back there are a few things we would have done differently.

    Right now my parents are still very independent, but I know there are some decisions that need to be made that I have to find a way to talk with them about. I also worry about my adult children and want to make sure we have things settled before any major life change puts them at the center of the decision making.

  19. I am a subscriber.

  20. Great book, great contest!

  21. My sister and I need this now. Our parents are getting up there adn this would help guide us through this difficult time.

  22. christa marteny

    both my husband and i need this with our aging parents

  23. My mom need this she is dealing with this right now thanks for the chance

  24. I subscribe thanks

  25. I signed up for your newsletter updates. I’m currently caring for my disabled fiance.

  26. CLOSED
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  27. Congratulations Sheila for winning! Please claim your prize within 48 hours and send name/address for shipping!

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