Doctors Share Their Woes Caring for Aging Parents

Group Hopes Personal Tales Will Help Change Flawed System

Ruth Kane, pictured in the 1930s. Aging expert Robert Kane started PPECC after trouble obtaining adequate post-stroke care for his mother. Courtesy Robert Kane hide caption

Read Robert Kane's Personal Story
itoggle caption Courtesy Robert Kane

Above, Jeanne and Bob von Sternberg. Dr. Tom von Sternberg, a geriatrician, had to contend with competing diagnoses and disinterested doctors to get his mother surgery needed to address her deteriorating mobility. Courtesy Tom von Sternberg hide caption

Read Tom von Sternberg's Story
itoggle caption Courtesy Tom von Sternberg

Caring for an aging parent or relative can be a frustrating experience. Decisions need to be made quickly, often with little information. Doctors can disagree on their diagnoses, and it's not always clear what's covered by insurance. The result is that many families end up feeling overwhelmed.

It turns out that even doctors have trouble making things work for their own aging parents. Now, a group of doctors, nurses and other health care experts have come together to share their own stories of troubles maneuvering the health care system.

Called Professionals with Personal Experience in Chronic Care, the group has a Web site and newsletter it hopes will inspire the health care industry to fix flaws that make it difficult to get adequate care for the elderly. NPR's Joseph Shapiro reports.

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