A wryly humorous and pragmatic guide to helping loved ones negotiate the changes of old age.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF OLD PEOPLE WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MARBLES

An elder care navigator provides tips and resources for people who, by choice or by chance, find themselves caring for older adults.

Blankenship was in her 40s when she discovered that the needs of aging parents can change “both suddenly and at a snail’s pace.” Faced with providing long-distance support to her elderly mother and more intensive help to a father-in-law living with cancer, while also juggling the needs of her young child, Blankenship put the organizational skills she had learned in business to a different and more personal use. Realizing that most people will find themselves, at some point in their lives, in the position of taking care of elder loved ones, she launched a career as an elder care navigator, helping others negotiate this emotionally fraught territory and creating a guide to share the knowledge she gained along the way. Drawing on her professional skills and personal experience, she offers concrete and practical advice for those faced with caring for aging relatives, from evaluating the needs of those not quite ready to admit they require help in Chapter 2, “Calling Their Bluff,” to the aftermath of death in Chapters 17, “The Exit Ramp,” and 18, “Dealing With the Remains.” Blankenship’s writing is reader friendly and entertaining, defusing an often traumatic experience with humor and helpful tools such as questions for evaluating nursing homes. Bullet-pointed lists offer guidance in evaluating elders’ financial and medical health and the activities of daily living that affect their ability to remain independent. Ideas such as appointment journals and medical portfolios are creative and helpful. One hitch in the carefully laid-out suggestions is that readers may be unlikely to consult a book such as Blankenship’s guide until their relatives are well past the point of acquiring the long-term care insurance she recommends or taking other steps that could make life easier. Even these latecomers, however, will find much to learn and implement in Blankenship’s organizational processes and resource lists.

A wryly humorous and pragmatic guide to helping loved ones negotiate the changes of old age.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9963739-2-0

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Indiana Street Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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