An interview with elder-caregiving expert Carol Bradley Bursack about sibling conflict in the care of a parent with Dementia. Carol reports that most adult children caregivers are still women, and that typically the responsibilities of caregiving fall mostly to one child within a family. This creates the conditions for old resentments, jealousies, and conflicts to resurface, especially with regard to favoritism, money, inheritance, and hours of unacknowledged caregiving work. Carol tells stories of conflict and offers preventative suggestions for how families can navigate these challenges intact.
A conversation with therapist Nancy Sowell about the family secrets that came out as she was caring for her grandmother with dementia. Nancy recounts the curious distance and even hostility she had always felt from this side of the family, and how it all began to make sense as her grandmother opened up for the first time. She describes the powerful way that dementia can lift a person’s inhibitions, occasionally allowing for shared grief and even healing of old wounds that she had only sensed were there. She also discusses the power of secrets and shame in families, and how difficult it is, even now, to know how to talk about a painful secret with the rest of the family.
A conversation with Julia Jarvis about how her relationship with her difficult father has evolved both before and after he got dementia. She describes how during her childhood, Julia’s father was moody, punitive, and sexually inappropriate. For this reason she limited her contact with him, but with the birth of her own children she allowed him a second chance to be a part of her life. Now that he has dementia, some of his previous tendencies have returned, but in a different form. Julia talks about her struggles to make peace with him, and about the challenges now faced by the caregivers in her father’s life.
An interview with actress Glenn Close about her sister Jessie’s bipolar disorder, and how the stigma of mental illness impacts whole families. Glenn describes the remorse she feels for not being able to be a more protective older sister as her 9 years younger sister Jessie was growing up. She describes the way [Read more…]
An interview with therapist Isa Mattei on her relationship with her brother, Artie, who had schizophrenia. She describes the way her mother’s fierce determination not to have Artie institutionalized may have both protected him, and kept him very integrated with the family, while also [Read more…]