Changing Places

Changing Places

A Journey with my Parents into Their Old Age

Written by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781573228800
  • 256 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


Millions of baby boomers are facing one of life’s most poignant challenges-they are becoming parents to their parents.

It is a turning point that Mary Pipher illuminated in her New York Times bestseller Another Country-and one that Judy Kramer knows well. Confronted with new emotional and practical challenges when her parents entered a nursing home, she navigated through a maze of medical bills and paperwork, gained valuable insight from visits with doctors and consultations with elder law attorneys, and found love for her parents in new and often surprising places. It was a difficult journey, and a lonely one. In Changing Places, a book based on her popular newspaper column, she shares what she learned along the way.

Table of Contents


Part I: Afternoon: Changes
1. Departure: Closing a Home
2. Moving In
3. Assuming Control
4. Setting Up an Irrevocable Trust
5. Medicaid: Becoming Poor and Eligible
6. Confinement, Contentment, and Commitment
7. Nurturing Creativity
8. Preparing for Mortality
9. Trading Places
10. Feeling My Feelings
11. Family Communications
12. Learning the Drill
13. Learning the Hard Way
14. Traveling with Family Baggage

Part II: Evening: Losses
15. Looking Backward and Forward
16. Losing Independence
17. Invisible Indignities
18. Making Choices
19. Losses
20. Innovating Around Losses
21. A Good Loss
22. Living with Her Choices
23. Losing Control
24. The Meaning of Things
25. A Full Plate
26. The Limits of Care
27. Trading Voice Mail
28. Time-Sharing
29. Guilt and Reality
30. Finding Ways to Help
31. Getting It Right
32. The Last Dance
33. Running Out of Time
34. Rare Pleasure
35. Dad Won’t Listen
36. Balancing Act
37. Showing Love
38. Family Albums: Buried Treasure

Part III: Night: Death
39. The Gift of Conversation
40. Preparing Together
41. Medical Emergencies
42. The Cost of Care
43. The Seesaw
44. Approaching Death
45. Allowing Death: The Advance Directive
46. Implementing Death
47. Sharing Death
48. Road Map: The Advance Directive
49. When the Question Is An Answer

Part IV: Dawn: Grief
50. Caregiver Withdrawal
51. Surviving Death
52. The Gift of Remembering
53. Seeing Dad Again
54. Phone Fear
55. Recognizing Losses
56. Life’s Overdraft Privileges
57. The Natural Order of Things
58. Missing Parents Differently
59. The Memories We Select
60. How We Heal
61. Finding the Universal in the Particular
62. Saying Thanks and Good-bye
63. Meeting Parents as Peers
64. Wanting to Love Them
65. Hard Things to Say

Part V: Morning: Survival
66. Legacies
67. Balancing the Books
68. Not Sharing Good News
69. Being with Dad Again
70. Feeling Grief and Relief
71. Closing Accounts
72. Releasing the Records
73. Speaking without Words
74. The Anniversary of Mom’s Death
75. The Legacy of Letters
76. Looking In and Out
77. Lessons
78. Fears, Feelings, and the Flow of Time