My Mother, Your Mother. Dennis McCullough.

McCullough, Dennis. My Mother, Your Mother. Harper LUXE (Harper Collins) New York, 2008. NF; 9/12.

This is one of a number of very good recent books on aging and care of the elderly. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Dr. McCullough (please take a look at my blog on his work here ).

My Mother, Your Mother is almost a personal essay, it’s so directly compelling. Dennis tells the story of his own mother’s aging and death, along with those of others from his practice experience. But it’s also an extremely detailed and useful “how-to” guidebook for aging people and those in their their “circle of caring”.

We walk through Dennis’s eight stages of aging (see my post), all in the setting of his lovely original concept which he calls “Slow Medicine”. Gently ironically referring to the Slow Food movement (and others), this idea involves a more thoughtful, much less formulaic, and really heart-warmingly personal approach to everything to do with the last stages of life, but particularly targets its opposite, “Fast Medicine”, as it is practiced by system subspecialists, the staff of emergency rooms, and hospitals. If as I imagine it could my A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing to Elderly describes the poisoning and mistreatment we are handing old folks today, Dennis McCullough’s book contains the antidote. Lately I’ve found myself recommending it to caregivers in preference to my own book, which has to say something about its quality.

The style is dignified and professional like Dennis’s speaking style, but there isn’t a single insincere or patronizing sentence. I learned a lot reading this great book and hope it gains the wider readership it deserves. 8.7

Sadly, Dennis died suddenly in June 2016 at age 72, apparently of a heart attack. The world lost a wonderful physician and tireless innovator, his family and others close to him a wonderful relationship, and I the good fortune of a dear and generous friend.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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