Dave Iverson was a busy broadcast journalist recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he decided to do something he’d never quite imagined: He moved in to take care of his 95-year-old mom. Winter Stars is the moving story of their ten-year caregiving journey.
By the end of this decade, 74 million Americans will be over the age of 65, including every member of the Baby Boom generation. The pandemic prompted more Americans to consider caring for their parents at home, but as Iverson learned, the gritty, life-changing reality caregiving delivers requires more than good intentions. He didn’t know that his mom’s dementia would pose more challenges than his Parkinson’s. He didn’t know he’d be capable of getting so angry. He didn’t know that becoming a caregiver means experiencing love and loss, anger and insight—usually when exhausted and often on the same day. And he didn’t know that moving in with his mom would challenge and change him more than any other life experience.
For the vast number of families who are confronting —or will soon confront—a caregiving journey, Winter Stars offers an intimate, unvarnished portrait of the challenges, choices, and life lessons that lie ahead.
This was a hard book to read, probably because just four months have passed after the death of my father, who was bedridden for a long time.
Although my mother was his primary caregiver, my brother and I were actively involved in almost all aspects of his care. Like Iverson, my mother and I had to deal with our medical problems.
My father did not have dementia. He was 20 years younger than Iverson’s mother. Also, we did not seek or receive any outside help, financial or otherwise.
Regardless of the differences, we also faced many challenges, underwent many changes, and experienced a gamut of emotions. I could relate to Iverson’s account. It is sensitive, wise, humble, and honest.
I liked the way he describes the women caregivers who helped take care of his mother. His references to the caregiving situation may pertain to the US. However, it makes you think more seriously about it, especially given the rise in the geriatric population the world over.
Note: Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.