Planning for Life

The Ultimate Juggling Act: Working, Raising Children and Caring for Aging Parents

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 19, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

Working-Daughter-Aging-Elder-Care-Margolis-and-BloomManaging raising children while holding down a full-time job is a challenge for all parents. Add in caring for aging parents and it can feel more like a vise than the proverbial sandwich. Dedham-based marketing executive Liz O'Donnell has written a book, Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Making a Living, and started a website,, both aimed at helping daughters of elderly parents better manage the pressures coming at them from all directions. Both are based on O'Donnell's own experience trying to care for her parents, raise her children and meet the requirements of a demanding job. They are full of good advice for other daughters (and sons) facing the same challenges.

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Topics: caregiving, Caregivers

New Organization Supports Caring Policy and Documentary

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 17, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

A relatively new grassroots organization, Caring Across Generations, is working to change public policy to support people caring for people with disabilities of all ages. It is a coalition of over 200 other organizations. Its co-directors are Sarita Gupta,Sarita Gupta executive director of Jobs with Justice, and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and a MacArthur Award winner.

The organization's goal is "to bring our caregiving infrastructure into the 21st century, so everyone can age and care with dignity." It focuses its work in three areas: access to care, support for families and better care jobs. It argues without these changes we will not be able to meet the care needs of our aging population except through increased institutionalization.

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Topics: caregiving, elder care

New End-of-Life Resource in Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 10, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis


A new website offers information and resources for individuals and families facing end-of-life challenges. It is designed as both a destination itself with answers to questions about end-of-life topics and as a directory of services in the community. The website,, grew out of the work of the Massachusetts Commission on End of Life Care and the Massachusetts Experts Panel on End of Life Care, which in 2014 came out with the report, Looking Forward: 2014 and Beyond

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Topics: end-of-life, caregiving, health-care decision making, Caregivers

Demented Patient Liable for Injuries He Causes

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 15, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

In Mary Ellen Gioia v. Richard D. and Ann L. Ratner, the Essex County superior court in Massachusetts refuses to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a registered nurse who claims she was injured by a patient in her care. She brought the suit against the patient, Richard Ratner, and his wife and health care agent, Ann Ratner. Judge Diane M. Kottmyer rules that the suit against Mr. Ratner can move forward but dismisses the claim against his wife.

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Topics: caregiving, dementia, incapacity, seniors, deficit, hospital care, elder law

Accessory Apartments: Keeping Our Special Needs Children and Elderly Close

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on August 15, 2016

Along with the graying of America, our society is grappling with a dramatic surge of young adults impacted by autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities who are aging out of school and into the vastly less supported real world. We need to think creatively about how to provide alternative housing options for them.

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Topics: special needs planning, caregiving

Care Management Pioneer Passes Away

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 5, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

We were very sorry to learn last week that Helen Kass, the first director of Creative Alliance at Sherrill House in Jamaica Plain, has passed away at age 82 from leukemia and cancer. Most geriatric care managers are individual practitioners. This was especially true in the early days of the profession. So, it was a unique enterprise when Sherrill House, a non-profit nursing home based in Jamaica Plain, introduced its own care management service with Ms. Kass in the lead.

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Topics: caregiving

The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 19, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Caring for others who are physically or mentally incapable of taking care of themselves is a daunting task. On top of the physical and emotional strain, making personal and health care decisions for another person in circumstances that you haven't discussed in advance compounds the burden.

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Topics: caregiving

The Crisis Facing America's Working Daughters

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 29, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Liz O'Donnell, a Boston writer and family caregiver, describes the dilemma faced by many American women who, already stretched thin by working, caring for children, and doing more than their share of chores at home, then become the primary care providers and managers for their parents.

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Topics: caregiving, family caregiving

Understanding Desperation: Parents of Special Needs Children Who Do the Unthinkable

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on December 10, 2015

By Karen B. Mariscal

On Sunday, December 6, the New York Times Magazine published a heartbreaking article, here, about Frank Stack of Elmhurst, Illinois, the father of two severely disabled adult children, and the husband of a dying wife. Over Labor Day weekend in 2014, Frank shot all three in the head and then killed himself.  It is clear from everyone who knew him that Frank thought he was acting out of love.  His children had very low intelligence and needed constant care, and he was getting to the point where he could no longer look after them.  Frank was 82 and had a bad back.  He had spent 50 years caring for his disabled children.  Although they recently had been living in group homes, Frank remained very much involved. 

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Topics: caregiving, special needs

5 Guidelines for Caring for the Caregiver - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 10, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

Taking care of a senior, whether due to dementia or illness, can be exhausting and stressful. Often due to the lack of outside help, a devotion to the person needing care, or the tunnel vision that can accompany exhaustion, caretakers don’t take care of themselves.  

If this describes you, you must take care of yourself.  Failure to do so can lead to burn out, injury or illness.  If you are the caregiver, any of these results will harm your ability to care for your loved one.
Photo by Tim Doerfler on Unsplash

Here are some steps you can take to take care of yourself and make sure you can take care of your loved one:

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Topics: long-term care planning, caregiving, dementia, seniors

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