Stories on ageing, illness and life
If we’re ever going to truly get to know our parents, chances are it’s going to happen during adulthood, long after you’ve tested each other’s limits and found a meeting place. And there’s an even greater chance it will happen when the ‘normal life’ you once had is gone and you must reconfigure how you do things.
Amal Awad’s life changed when her father was diagnosed with kidney failure. Seeing the impact it has had on him, both physically and mentally, and the way the side effects trickle into those around him, Mentally, it had an impact as he was unable to recover from his fresh grief at not having the same freedom to move and live as he had known before. Work had made him feel whole and retirement was a challenge. When he became ill, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Amal eventually realised that life offered a new reality. Not always pleasant, but also not unique to her family.
On a mission to help her father and support her mother, Amal began spending every Friday with her parents. But she also saw the gaps in discussion around ageing and sickness. Who could she go to for advice on how to help her father, and how to cope herself? Amal’s personal experiences prompted her to explore how Australians are ageing, how sickness affects the afflicted and those around them, and what solutions exist when hope seems lost.
So many people are similarly navigating a new reality – weeks dotted with doctor appointments; conversations that deplete and reveal at the same time; reshaped family relationships. In this book, Amal speaks with them to gain insights and to consider solutions. She interviews doctors, nurses, an aged care psychologist, specialists (including her father’s), politicians and people in aged care and retirement.
At a time when ageism and health is high on the public's radar, what we're not always talking about is how to deal with the anxiety, depression and overall challenges that come with someone you love facing their mortality and a decline in health.
This is a book about asking big, deep questions that have emerged from a small, personal place.
How do things change?
How does it impact the ageing? How about younger people?
How do these situations get ‘solved’? Or even just better?
Can we remove stigmas from ageing and sickness in a society so focused on youth and vitality?
As a journalist and author, Amal investigates life and the human condition. This time it’s personal.
Fridays with the Folks will share heartfelt, honest stories that will help others who are in similar positions. Having to reorient themselves when the boat has taken a battering and they have to take a new direction.
This book stems from a personal experiences, but it expands to a much wider, more universal discussion about life, suffering, coping and hope.