The article, Letting Go of My Father, authored by Jonathan Rauch and originally published on April 2010 in The Atlantic, was recently presented by a member of one of AMI’s family caregiver support groups. She explained that this article gave her the words that she had been trying to find but unable to form. This voice by proxy seems not only the author’s intent, but also a request.He lays out his own journey, unprepared, into care giving for his sick 80 year old father. Mr. Rauch’s account zig-zags through the difficult processes that both providing care and accepting help demand, while it voices the isolation that family care givers often feel when they think their only choice is to go it alone.
I emerged from the whole experience not a little indignant. The medical infrastructure for elder care in America is good, very good. But the cultural infrastructure is all but nonexistent. How can it be that so many people like me are so completely unprepared for what is, after all, one of life’s near certainties?
Mr. Rauch estimates “millions of middle-aged Americans” need to be informed and supported but instead remain “invisible caregivers.” Rauch says the care giver’s silent problems are likely to require a cultural change; one he compellingly likens to Betty Fredan’s book, The Feminist Mystique, where “suddenly they realize they all share the same problem, the problem that has no name.”
. . . Well worth the read . . . Link to the article: Letting Go of My Father – The Atlantic.