"Caring for Mom and Dad" Documentary: What Did You Think?


"Caring for Mom and Dad" Documentary: What Did You Think?

family-515530_640I just watched "Caring for Mom and Dad," the PBS documentary. The film aired last Thursday in Chicago at 10 p.m.--too late for me so I recorded it for another day (which turned out to be today). I wonder, too, what that says when a film about an issue that impacts so many gets a non-prime-time air time.

I loved the stories of the family caregivers profiled during the film. I loved the diversity in gender, ethnicity and age. I loved the honesty expressed by the family caregivers, who really opened up about their challenges and their heartbreak. Anthony, in particular, provided a truthful reflection about what he did wrong and what he needed to do to right the situation. I also loved the focus on the struggle we have to keep our jobs when we add a second full-time job called caregiving. (I also would love a documentary that focused on other caregiving relationships--like caring for spouses, caring for children, caring for grandparents, caring for siblings, you get the idea.)

I found it interesting that another professional used the "we'll do the hard work, relieve you of responsibility so you can go back to being a adult child" sales pitch. The family caregiver who hired the professional--a geriatric care manager--spoke about her guilt which overwhelms her. I'm frustrated when the impact of caregiving--regardless of how much help we have--is minimized. Having help helps and is a must but the weight of the responsibility and worry always remains.

The documentary presented the problems but also shared solutions that can help. I thought it was great that the film focused on the difference these solutions, which require minimal funding, can make on the entire family unit.

I also thought that Meryl Streep was the perfect narrator; she wove stories, stats and sadness without being overly dramatic.

What did you think? To which stories did you relate? What didn't ring true for you?

Tell us in the comments section, below.

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I was finally able to watch this last night. There were several local people in the show. Mary Ellen Mc Cartney, Bud Hammes, and Don Weber. La Crosse, Wisconsin is where I live and Gundersen Health System is the hospital system that mom uses regularly including for her dialysis. I find this to be a start at explaining things to people who do not understand what family caregivers do but think it needs to be expanded on. I think they should address how some people seem to think we have all this free time because we are home with our loved one but that we are actually busy doing something important!

Lillie Fuller

I missed it when it aired but will watch on line.


I know I need to be pleased that the issue was addressed at all; but come on, isn't this preaching to the choir? If you were really seeking information, you would be scared to death. (does everyone want to shoot themselves or need a feeding tube?) If you've been \"in the business\" for a while, you know how it barely skimmed the surface. It was like Cliff's Notes for Caregivers. If you look at the PBS website, it appears there must have been much more information that was edited out. I guess as a door-opener, it was ok, but it feels like throwing a bone to the dog and we deserve so much, much more.


It seems to be available on line at http://video.pbs.org/program/caring-mom-dad/