Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders

I am reading Another Country; Navigating the Emotional Terrain of our Elders by Mary Pipher. I had heard of her before when she wrote the book about daughters. But since I only have a son did not give her books much thought. Another Country was mentioned in an occupational therapy article and was published in 1999, so as usual I am behind the times. I thought that it would be really depressing, but she is such a good writer that I am able read a little bit each day and think about her ideas.

Mary Pipher points out how each generation differs in values and ways of thinking and that baby boomers became all me me me whereas the World War II generation was forced to accept poverty, be willing to compromise and create their own fun rather than depend on the television. Actually I like the change that came with educational and career options for women and the fact that I didn't have the full time job of caring for my mother when she had alzheimer's disease for 8 years.
But I do wish I had the support of a large family instead of being the only one in my mother's life who loved her. My sister lived far away and like so many adult children couldn't cope with the dementia and avoided interacting with her.
Right now I am reading about how the generations view "dependency " differently. These days people are ashamed to be "dependent". In the past it was a way of life for family to care for a dependent. I'll keep you posted as I learn more about that other "country" which is what Pipher calls being old old, the state of being ill and dependent- which even healthy people in their 60's and 70's can imagine but not truly understand.

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