Paula Span is an accomplished journalist and author of “When The Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solution”
You can check out her blog for the New York Times at http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/
About the Book in her own words
A few years ago, working on a story for the Washington Post Magazine, I spent months visiting the residents of an assisted living facility in Bethesda, Maryland. At the same time, my own father’s health concerns and my mother’s recent death were making me more conscious of this task that most of us will eventually take on: caring for our aging parents. The subject was in the air, it seemed. When I ran into friends at the bank or the farmer’s market in the town where I’ve lived for 25 years, conversations that had once focused on our kids had shifted. People were talking about home health aides, about ADLs instead of SATs, geriatricians instead of pediatricians.
In 2006, I began work on “When the Time Comes,” an attempt to look more deeply into the ways adult children help their parents navigate old age. I wanted to tell the stories of families who’d chosen a variety of options when their parents were no longer able to live independently. With the help of friends and professionals, I found about a dozen families willing to let a reporter tag along through these stressful transitions. One daughter was keeping her mother in her little house in the Bronx by hiring home care aides; another was moving her mother into her own household in upstate New York. Two families in the Boston area were considering assisted living. Two were moving their parents into a nursing home outside Trenton. And two Baltimore families had parents who’d entered hospice care. Their experiences, which I tracked for months, form the heart of the book.
“When the Time Comes” isn’t a how-to manual. I think of it more as a support group in print: We learn from one another. But I’ve included a great deal of information about aging and eldercare: interviews with researchers, experts and advocates; data and discoveries from stacks of academic studies; a resource list. I want the book to be useful. I also want it to honor the hard but vital work that families still do, as they always have, to care for the people who cared for them.
Bio in her own words from www.PaulaSpan.com:
I grew up in a little factory town in southern New Jersey. I wanted to be a reporter since the fourth grade, when I read back-to-back children’s biographies of Joseph Pulitzer and Nellie Bly -- and that’s what I became.
I spent much of my career at the Washington Post. As a New York-based correspondent, I covered such subjects as the AIDS epidemic, financial industry upheavals, and urban life and development for the Style section, and wrote extensively about arts and culture. I also published stories about drag bingo, oddball off-Broadway musicals and Martha Stewart. Then, moving to the Washington Post Magazine, I wrote long cover stories about veterans’ problems with the military disability system, the future of retirement -- and competitive skateboarders. I’ve also written for a variety of other publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Esquire, Parenting, Glamour, Ms and several city magazines.
Currently, I write the New Old Age blog for The New York Times, and train the next generation of journalists at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I was the 2009 Distinguished Teacher of the Year. I live in Montclair, New Jersey, and I’m the parent of a terrific grown daughter.