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Trading Places: Becoming My Mother's Mother: A Daughter's Memoir

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Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. Th Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. This heartfelt look at the trials and tribulations of that decade offers powerful insight and encouragement for anyone entering into a similar period of life. Smith’s touching stories share the heartbreaking, and sometimes comical, moments she experienced while providing assistance to her aging parent—and how they mirrored similar events from her own childhood. In a very real sense, the two women traded places. Smith found herself uttering phrases she heard all too often as a child, such as, “Don’t give your food to the dog” and, “You’ve had enough sugar today.” Smith began jotting down the things she said, and thus this charming book was born. Filled with respect, compassion, and love, this uplifting and amusing memoir is for anyone involved in elder care or who may face the role in the future.


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Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. Th Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. This heartfelt look at the trials and tribulations of that decade offers powerful insight and encouragement for anyone entering into a similar period of life. Smith’s touching stories share the heartbreaking, and sometimes comical, moments she experienced while providing assistance to her aging parent—and how they mirrored similar events from her own childhood. In a very real sense, the two women traded places. Smith found herself uttering phrases she heard all too often as a child, such as, “Don’t give your food to the dog” and, “You’ve had enough sugar today.” Smith began jotting down the things she said, and thus this charming book was born. Filled with respect, compassion, and love, this uplifting and amusing memoir is for anyone involved in elder care or who may face the role in the future.

30 review for Trading Places: Becoming My Mother's Mother: A Daughter's Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This book is a very well-written and heartfelt story of how it feels to "trade places" with an ailing, elderly patient. Poignant, heart breaking at times - and comical at others - it will touch your heart in many, many ways. Becoming a caregiver is a daunting task at best, and when it involves a beloved family member, it brings with it additional emotions. It can be overwhelming, yet rewarding. It's not always pretty, but it's always truthful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anschen Conradie

    Daar het ‘n hele paar maande verloop tussen my aankoop en lees van hierdie boek. En ek het gesukkel daarmee: 14 dae aan minder as 150 bladsye gelees. Maar dis nie omdat die boek swak was nie; inteendeel, veel eerder omdat dit vir my ‘n baie persoonlike reis was. Daarom het ek aanvanklik getwyfel of ek iets daaroor moes skryf, want my indrukke is alles behalwe objektief, omdat ek 2 jaar gelede in die skryfster se posisie was. Maar hier skryf ek tog....... Die skryfster (en haar broers en susters) Daar het ‘n hele paar maande verloop tussen my aankoop en lees van hierdie boek. En ek het gesukkel daarmee: 14 dae aan minder as 150 bladsye gelees. Maar dis nie omdat die boek swak was nie; inteendeel, veel eerder omdat dit vir my ‘n baie persoonlike reis was. Daarom het ek aanvanklik getwyfel of ek iets daaroor moes skryf, want my indrukke is alles behalwe objektief, omdat ek 2 jaar gelede in die skryfster se posisie was. Maar hier skryf ek tog....... Die skryfster (en haar broers en susters) het vir 10 jaar lank beurtelings hulle bejaarde moeder versorg. Sy is op die ouderdom van 92 oorlede. In dieselfde jaar wat sy oorlede is (2015) is hierdie boek gepubliseer. Dit is alreeds bewonderingswaardig: na 2 jaar is ek steeds nie in staat om sò openlik oor ons 6 weke te praat nie. Die boek is in hoofstukke verdeel wat elk hul opskrif ontleen aan dit wat ma’s gewoonlik vir kinders sê (bv. Don’t give your food to the dog; Don’t burp out loud; Turn that down !; Are you going to take a bath ?; Yes, you have to go to the doctor; I know you’re too old to wear diapers; It’s time we start thinking about somewhere else for you to live) wat dan gebruik word as aanknopingspunt om die oorgang van dogter na ma en ma na dogter te illustreer. Die trant is deurgaans lig en sluit humoristiese herinneringe in. Juis dit het my aanvanklik met die boek laat sukkel - ek is nog nie regtig dáár waar ek die humor kan waardeer nie. Die trant verander egter soos wat die situasie versleg en ek kon identifiseer met die magteloosheid en skuldgevoelens. My eerste reaksie ná ek vanoggend die laaste bladsy gelees het, was om die boek weg te gee - ek was dankbaar dis verby en kon my nie indink dat ek dit sou herlees nie. Ek het egter intussen van plan verander: ek gaan dit hou en weer lees wanneer ek die dag wel in staat is om die humor te waardeer. I’ll get there.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Jones

    Partially caregiver information and lots of personal family biography Having spent 5 years singlehandedly caring for my aging (and now deceased) Mother, I was looking forward to some shared experiences with the author. However, much of the book contains stories about her family and growing up with her Mother - not much information to help current or future caregivers. This family was blessed to have multiple caregivers to share duties. They also apparently had access to finances enabling them to Partially caregiver information and lots of personal family biography Having spent 5 years singlehandedly caring for my aging (and now deceased) Mother, I was looking forward to some shared experiences with the author. However, much of the book contains stories about her family and growing up with her Mother - not much information to help current or future caregivers. This family was blessed to have multiple caregivers to share duties. They also apparently had access to finances enabling them to utilize assisted living (and later nursing) facilities. The truth is that many families have one caregiver and little to no money. I gave up my family and career to care for my Mother. This was and even now still is a hardship, but she was my Mother, I loved her and she needed care. The author had to plan her world travels around caregiving? Sorry. The author would have helped by providing some resources - even those she used would be better than nothing. This is more a autobiography and not caregiver assistance.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann Campanella

    When I started reading Trading Places: Becoming My Mother's Mother, I expected to feel the familiar weight of grief that I carried when I cared for my mother who had Alzheimer's for 14 years. But Sandra Bullock Smith's book was instead uplifting. In each chapter, Sandra reveals a part of her childhood, and she shares how her mother's words are now coming out of her mouth. As Sandra was losing her mother to her disease, she also embraces the loving and special woman who raised a large family. Thi When I started reading Trading Places: Becoming My Mother's Mother, I expected to feel the familiar weight of grief that I carried when I cared for my mother who had Alzheimer's for 14 years. But Sandra Bullock Smith's book was instead uplifting. In each chapter, Sandra reveals a part of her childhood, and she shares how her mother's words are now coming out of her mouth. As Sandra was losing her mother to her disease, she also embraces the loving and special woman who raised a large family. This book filled me with appreciation for the caretaking roles we assume, whether it be parent for child or child for parent. A lovely, warmly reminiscent book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    As a long time caregiver I can really relate to this story. Working in memory care facilities for years I have witnessed this decline hundreds of times. The amount of compassion and patience Sandra describes showing her mother is amazing. It is so hard to hold it all together. I really enjoyed this book and also appreciate the amount of time and care she gave to her mother in her final years.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terri Calvert

    Wow There is so much love in this book. Life is a blessing, love is a gift. Wisdom to be a wonderful caregiver is definitely here. If you have a loved one hospitalized or in a care facility, be involved. I can tell you that we never had the staff to give the care I wanted to give, family involvement meant so much to us and our patients. This book is priceless.

  7. 4 out of 5

    julie morse

    This was heart-warming When a parent becomes a responsibility of others it's not only time -consuming but heart-wrestling. I can relate to what she went through and although itself hard the rewards are boundless. A lot of good can come from reading this book

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Downing

    I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. I wish I would have had this book when I was taking care of my mother. It is a wonderful guide for caregivers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Touching I was concerned that reading this would make me sad, as I lost my folks in 2008 within 5 months of each other. It helped as opposed to sadness. It made me appreciate what my sister did for them the last year of their life (she lived in San Antonio where they lived; I live in New Orleans). I'll always be grateful to their 3 caretakers, making it easier to keep them both at home. Dad said his only job was to take care of mom. She passed in June of 2008, and then I guess his body decided h Touching I was concerned that reading this would make me sad, as I lost my folks in 2008 within 5 months of each other. It helped as opposed to sadness. It made me appreciate what my sister did for them the last year of their life (she lived in San Antonio where they lived; I live in New Orleans). I'll always be grateful to their 3 caretakers, making it easier to keep them both at home. Dad said his only job was to take care of mom. She passed in June of 2008, and then I guess his body decided he couldn't ignore his liver cancer anymore (treatment for it was hindered by his heart problems) and it started eating away at him, to where, by November that same year, he told me he couldn't take it much longer, and two days after I flew home, he passed. Anyway, this is a warm, light hearted, touching book. I hope my daughter reads it. I was given this book in return for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This book was provided to me by the author. That said, it is did not influence my review of it. I enjoyed this book a lot. This book highlighted and recapped the authors experience she had becoming a caregiver for her mother. In the book she talks about how her mother used to say/do certain things for her and now it was as if the tables were turned. I appreciated the vulnerability and honesty in her writing. I have not experienced this myself, but I think it would be a good read for anyone who i This book was provided to me by the author. That said, it is did not influence my review of it. I enjoyed this book a lot. This book highlighted and recapped the authors experience she had becoming a caregiver for her mother. In the book she talks about how her mother used to say/do certain things for her and now it was as if the tables were turned. I appreciated the vulnerability and honesty in her writing. I have not experienced this myself, but I think it would be a good read for anyone who is in that situation. The end had me to tears. I appreciated this book and the message very much. I am glad that I had the chance to review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gina Smith

    A sensitive look at what it is like to become a parent's caretaker. The book is written in a way that shows how hard it can be at times but told with a sense of humor. I enjoyed reading about the bond between mother and daughter, and the way the author found herself telling her mother the same things her mother said years before. I also enjoyed looking at the family pictures that were included in the book. * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Rogers

    This is a memoir of a daughter caring for her aging mom. Am in same position in life so found encouragement in this book. Is difficult being a parent to a parent but falls to someone in later years. Am doing so with my mom in assisted living but still many things to tend to. Am grateful to have my mom for so many years. She will turn 93 on Easter Sunday. Thanks Ms. Smith for this helpful book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeanine Cooper

    Emotionally honest memoir Elder care is not a new phenomenon but it is rare to have the details spelled out in such a refreshing, but insightful way. A must read for anyone dealing with grief and loss, especially for those who provided care. One lesson that resonates: 'guilt is okay'. We're only human and imperfect; just do the very best you can while you can.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jones

    I so appreciate the candor, humor, and transparency of the author in sharing her story. I am living this life right now and can identify on so many levels. I am thankful for the privilege of caring for my mother and so thankful for my sister who is the primary caregiver. I read this book and ordered a copy for my sister.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    Trading Places is an insightful read Not all caregiver experiences are the same but there are always common threads. This book is an insightful reminder that you are not alone. Shared knowledge enables coping strategies. Well written memoir.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan Csoke

    Sandra shares with us her experiences of caring for an elderly parent. As she was her mothers care giver for ten years. Through the hardships, the struggles, and many challenges, emotional and physical. Caregiving is a labor of love.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caitlyn Hunt

    I found it very interesting and reminded me a lot of my own grandmother who went through similar struggles.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachella Baker

    This was very enjoyable book.it gives you something to think about.I have passed this book on to a friend to read.l know she will enjoy it also

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Rogers

    Have already reviewed this book

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pam Warner

    Skimmed through it. Inspirational. Ok

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Mitchell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria Luisa Niño

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachella Baker

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Merrill

  25. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Perrin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Stumpner

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hirsch

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Walsh

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Forde

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