Early in December, while reading the New York Times’ “New Old Age” blog, I saw a comment that noted the blog would be dropped at the end of December. When I could find no more information, I checked Jane Gross's (founder of the blog in 2008) Facebook page and there she explained the Times ended the blog for budgetary reasons.
I was disappointed, but not totally surprised. Jane's contributions to the “New Old Age” had dwindled in the past couple of years and I wondered how well the column could sustain itself over time. Jane began writing it after going through her mother's stay and eventual death in a New York nursing home. Her experiences and those of others have given the blog many topics for six years.
I will miss the blog. It has provided me with very good information. I think it was important and I am sure readers appreciated reading the experiences of others. It had to be comforting to know how other children of parents in nursing homes faced their challenges. Many articles, however, may have frustrated or raised hackles on readers.
The New York Times has been slapped for the way it covers long-term care. I am hoping that the stories that appeared in the “New Old Age” will find their way into the mainstream parts of the Times.
It is important for all of us to know how the older and weaker are cared for in nursing homes. Since many of these facilities are supported by federal and state tax dollars, we all have a vested interest, even if we never set foot in a nursing home. We need to know what goes on there—the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly.
It was enlightening to read a November blog post by Jane Gross that relayed her own problems navigating senior healthcare issues now that she is 65. Although she is quite capable, she showed how her age and needs challenge and frustrate her.
I am sure those who followed the “New Old Age” blog will miss it each Sunday. Jane Gross does make entries on Facebook and is in the process of writing a second book. Her first book, A Bittersweet Season, covered her mother's long-term care experience.