Family Issues

The Executor’s Assistant

I’m serving as executor for my father’s estate, a role few of us are prepared for until we’re playing it, so I was grateful when the mail brought “The American Bar Association Guide to Wills and Estates” — the fourth edition of a handbook the A.B.A. began publishing in 1995. This is a legal universe,(…)

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In the Middle: Helping Unhappy Couples

Mike Blake/Reuters Sometimes couples just stop getting along. What’s a caregiver to do? A post on Monday discussed the forces that can make an older couple’s good marriage suddenly go bad — an array of subtle, and often-misunderstood, mental, physical and emotional factors that can upset the equilibrium of even the happiest marriages. Now we(…)

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In the Middle: Why Elderly Couples Fight

David Rochkind for The New York Times George and Gracie (let’s call them that because using their real names would make them even unhappier than they already appear to be) are in their 80s and have been married for more than 65 years. Until recently they seemed to ride the waves that are inevitable in(…)

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How to Shoot a Photo to Remember

Sometimes the realization comes almost too late — you sense that your parents or other loved ones may soon be gone, and it dawns on you that you don’t have any recent photos to remember them by. Sure, you might have a few photos of them in their youth, before you even knew them. But(…)

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Hard Decisions in the I.C.U.

Getty Images Your relative has spent five days in a hospital intensive care unit, unable to breathe without a ventilator and incapable of making her own medical decisions. Because she appointed you her health care proxy, or simply because you’re her closest relative, the choices about treatments — trying them or stopping them — fall(…)

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When Work Makes You Choose

4:50 p.m. | Updated Rachel Robinson was doing well at T-Mobile in Chattanooga, Tenn. The company hired her in 2006 as a customer service representative, promoted her twice in two years and honored her with an employee award that included a trip to Hawaii. The trouble began in early 2008, when her mother developed a(…)

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How Do You Want It to End?

Among the many things that Ellen Goodman has done — written a widely syndicated column, published books, won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary, given probably hundreds of talks on topics from friendship and feminism to bioethics — is this familiar job: She’s been a family caregiver. Ellen Goodman. She traces her latest mission, leading a(…)

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Struggling With an Abusive Aging Parent

Some new residents come into the nursing home like lions, roaring at staff and fighting admission at every turn. Others come in like lambs, including an 84-year-old woman who arrived quietly after a complicated hip fracture ended her ability to live alone. Her presence on the unit raised little attention and no suspicion of a(…)

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They Still Don’t Want to Live With You

CBS/PhotofestA scene from “The Waltons.” Looking over the results of a national survey on attitudes about aging, released on Monday, I groaned over some of the dopier questions. (At what age did people experience their first kiss? Not quite 15, on average. Who cares?) But there were some interesting data on an issue of perennial(…)

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Managing Care Online

When Wendy Naumann’s father and three siblings received her mother’s diagnosis — a terminal brain tumor — they were overwhelmed. Just communicating within the family to keep everybody updated on her mother’s condition was exhausting, as they were spread out across the country. Add to that the job of coordinating the e-mails, texts and calls(…)

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