Culture & Criticism Since 2003
The odds are decent that you will live to be old and infirm one day. That, or you’ll end up pushing daisies, and the actuarial tables aren’t looking good for the daisies.
Odds are also good that you’ll end up tending to someone who is old and infirm. One or both parents, your spouse, or possibly a sibling. The work will be demanding and dispiriting – both physically and emotionally. But with any luck, it will also prove deeply rewarding.
In turn, Christina Conroy’s I Want To Go To Lithuania is designed to help direct people who find themselves on this journey. Initially, the manual helps care-givers to determine the personality type of the aging person (generically assumed to be an elderly father), while helping you to see how your relationship is evolving.
Basically, I Want To Go To Lithuania is meant to be and approachable and an easy-to-read guide about tending to the elderly, and it succeeds at being just that – so long as the reader understands that the categories identified are only generalities.
In most cases, a relative with Alzheimer’s or dementia will tick two (and perhaps all) of the personality type boxes Conroy outlines, and the elements of your relations will be just as complex and varied. However, as Conroy writes, the idea is to spot these discrete elements and respond to them in an effective and constructive fashion.
The bulk of I Want To Go To Lithuania is geared toward determining the interests and passions of the elderly relative, and then using what you’ve learned to engage the person – both with yourself, and with life insofar as that is possible. Again, it’s all only a general guide, but the steps suggested are invaluable.
Unfortunately, the territory Conroy traverses discusses a situation most of us will face which can only end in sorrow. But as Conroy shows, these trials also have the power to bring moments of joy and love, making the final journey more bearable for both of you.
Zepp Jamieson was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and spent his formative years living in various parts of Canada, the UK, South Africa and Australia before finally moving to the United States, where he has lived for over 40 years. Aside from writing, his interests include hiking, raising dogs and cats, and making computers jump through hoops. His wife of 25 years edits his copy, and bravely attempts to make him sound coherent. Reach him through The Electric Review.