A Blog For and About Today's Seniors

by Sandra K. Sprague

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sandra's Summer Book & Movie List

Books and Movies Featuring Care Givers

Okay, you can search high and low on eBay or Toys-'R'-Us and you won't find a single Care Givers action figure! But that doesn't mean care givers are not a part of our popular culture. The fact of the matter is that care givers are featured in many of yesterday and today's popular books and films. Summertime is here and I usually take that time of year to catch up on my reading and film-watching; I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorite books and films in which care givers play prominent roles!

The Savages (2007)

Siblings Jon and Wendy Savage have spent the bulk of their adult years trying to distance themselves from the painful memories of their childhood; memories made painful largely as a result of their father Lenny's abusive parenting style. Life has a way of converting twenty years of avoidance into a stark, real-time focus in a matter of minutes. Lenny, now aged and suffering from early onset Alzheimer's, is no longer able to care for himself. A phone call to each adult child yanks Jon (portrayed by Philip Seymor Hoffman, who as a much younger actor co-starred in the Gray Matters-reviewed Scent of a Woman) and Wendy (Laura Linney) from their respective dysfunctional lives and into a new world of in-home care, assisted living facilities, long-term care concerns and financial pressures.

Reluctant Jon and Wendy are forced to deal with all of these challenges while learning to accept their father in an altered perspective as a helpless, aging parent rather than an omnipotent bully. Writer-director, Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills) told Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air, that she drew heavily on her experiences taking care of her elderly grandmother and elderly father, both Alzheimer's sufferers. In The Savages, Jenkins uses her experiences to skillfully provide a poignant and often funny look at two forty-something siblings who have not been very good at taking care of themselves, suddenly grappling with the complexities of taking care of an elderly parent with Alzheimer's.

Their struggles with this challenge and the surprising end-results are humorous, moving and thought-provoking.

As the CEO of CARE GIVERS NW, I have seen many families like The Savages characters Jon, Wendy and Lenny in a sudden state of crisis. When a family paradigm suddenly shifts and an additional element of care is required for a parent (perhaps both), it is advisable to aarrange for an assessment from a licensed in-home care agency. CARE GIVERS NW (and most other professional services like it) does not charge for an assessment; it is done in the comfort of the client's home and there is no obligation whatsoever. Assessments can help you determine what kind of care needs you or your parents may require and best ways to answer those needs. Even if family members become the primary care givers for a Senior Loved One, there is always the need for a periodic back-up or respite care help from a qualified agency. The assessment can help you determine what particular care strategy is right for you and your entire family's needs.

Read Sandra's Other Reviews!

Rear Window"T" is for TrespassA Man in FullScent of a Woman