Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging

By: Melanie Merriman

In this poignant and timely memoir, Melanie Merriman shares her struggle to care for her fiercely independent and aging mother. When her father dies, Melanie commits to making the rest of her mother’s life the best it can be. She brings knowledge to the situation—as a hospice consultant, she has studied aging, illness, and the intricacies of the healthcare system—and she has a sister who is willing to help. Even with these advantages, Melanie finds the real-life experience of caring for her mother humbling. Every decision becomes a tug of war with Mom on one side, fighting for the independence, and the sisters on the other, trying to keep her safe; and a win for either side feels like a loss for all. Written for those who have cared for a parent, those who are facing that challenge, and those who are aging parents themselves, Holding the Net offers practical details about the effects of aging on body and mind, living arrangements for older people, making healthcare decisions, and navigating a stay in a nursing/rehab facility. It also challenges the notion that anyone can be an expert when it comes to caring for an aging parent, and encourages us simply to do our best.

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