Grace and Grit: Insights to Real-Life Challenges of Aging for Adult Children and Their Parents
by Fritzi Gros-Daillon
Pink Tulip Press

"I believe the world, our nation, your community, your loved ones, are facing unique challenges today when aging forces us out of our homes. These are unique challenges because the generations largely affected by this growing segment have enjoyed more freedom, more independence, and greater self-sufficiency than any generation before them."

Grace and Grit has become a popular title for books, especially since Ken Wilber's beautiful writings about the life and death of his wife. And while few people can match the work of Ken Wilber, this book, in its own way, also pays tribute to living and dying and offers heartfelt stories in this process of transition. This small, easy-to-read book offers significant insights into the world of the aging and stories of grief and joy in the challenges that face both aging parents and their adult children. Many of us are going through, or will go through, these same types of challenges.

Gros-Daillon is a specialized professional regarding aging care; she works in her own business of "senior move management, environmental consulting, and the aging-in-place home safety field." The book is a collection of stories regarding some of the situations she's dealt with in this company. The prologue is followed by ten chapters, an epilogue, and a list of professional resources. In the prologue, she relates her own story of getting into this business of advocacy for the aging population, brought on by her friends who were struggling to care for their parents. The ten chapters and the Epilogue are stories written about various family situations she's faced, including her own, such as ongoing issues between parents and adult children and between adult siblings. She explores the denial, grief, and loss associated with such drastic changes in health and living. In a book of 157 pages, the stories and the practical information will help those of us who are involved in such transitions with our parents and other aging person's in our lives.

In reading these real-life stories, we realize we are not alone in coping with life's transitions and the especially difficult process with coping with elderly loved ones. But for anyone who has gone through, or is going through such transitions with an elderly parent, these stories are all-too-familiar in their heartbreaking renditions of life and loss, sadness and pain, anger and belligerence, and powerless and denial. Reading this book will enable the children of elderly parents to grasp the significant losses not only for their parents, but for themselves. Such transitions may include the loss of the parental role as the child now becomes the parent, perhaps the loss of the childhood home with all the memories—both good and bad, loss of a unique generation of people, and perhaps being faced with their own mortality. Yet this book is not only valuable for adult children, but for those who work with the elderly in various capacities: social workers, nurses, physicians, nursing assistants, owners of transitional services or home care/assisted living centers and nursing homes.

The author relates Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' five stages of grief, which has been outdated for decades. Kubler-Ross herself noted she wished she hadn't written this as it was only a beginning insight into death and dying and not meant to be a standard of care. Fortunately the author doesn't use this throughout the book. However, the rest of the information is valuable, insightful, and practical. She captures the essence of issues of both parents and adult children, including her own losses and lessons learned from these losses. While there are practical tips, the biggest value of this book is in the compassion she demonstrates for others which provides a model for how to cope within these challenges. For those of us who have already experienced many of the incidents noted in this book, the stories validate our struggles on very personal levels; for persons who haven't experienced such transitions, it may be an eye-opener for what is to come. And for those in the helping professions, the stories can also validate these workers and their own struggles with the elderly.

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