The Ambivalent Daughter Memoir of a Conflicted Caregiver, by Gorny, Bethanie
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- ISBN: 9781667882475 | 1667882473
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 3/10/2023
The Ambivalent Daughter: Memoir of a Conflicted Caregiver, is the compelling story of a mother and daughter struggling to adjust after the mother has a severe stroke. Suddenly Bethanie is faced with the need to assume responsibility for the care of her octogenarian mother who has become completely disabled. The two strong, independent women have never gotten along which complicates matters. Gertrude needs total care and moves to a nursing home near her daughter. Bethanie is a professor who is dedicated to her career and her husband. Gertrude is angry and despondent about how her life has turned out. She finds she has lost all her independence in the residential setting where everything is lockstep. Bethanie visits her mother daily to keep her spirits up and oversee her care. She observes nursing home practices that do not serve the best interests of her mother and becomes a fervent advocate for changes in the care her mother receives. She insists that her mother's emotional needs be addressed and as well as her medical ones and that more individualization of care be implemented. Through her reflections on the past, the reader gains insight into the reasons for her ambivalence. She feels increasingly torn between the needs of her mother, her husband, and her career and begins to show signs of stress and depression. Her only sibling lives in Canada, and she feels frustrated that she cannot be more involved in her mother's care causing dissension between the sisters. Bethanie's husband is supportive, but Bethanie feels guilty about how much time has been taken from their relationship by her mother's needs. The action takes place over one year and is divided into short chapters highlighting critical events. The heart of the book is the interaction between a mother and daughter. The problems that exist in nursing homes is a theme and is embedded in the narrative. The stroke serves as a catalyst for positive changes in their relationship. Adult children coping with their aging parents' health problems will identify with the story and gain perspective and fresh ideas on how to cope and what to expect. The book is a poignant memoir that describes an ever more common scenario as people live longer.