"The practice of Slow Medicine has taught me that it is wise to slow down and moderate the urgent pressures of decision-making that are often pushed prematurely on elders by society, the medical profession, worried friends and family. Well-intentioned, we want to make good and humane choices for ourselves and for those we love. We are worried by guilty feelings of neglect if we wait too long to act. We often experience nagging doubts of our adequacy in these new and very changed relationships."

-from My Mother, Your Mother

Thanks to advances in medicine, the lives of the elderly and the infirm can be significantly prolonged. But at what cost? Wrestling with the question "What's the right thing to do for mom or dad?", many of us become unwillingly caught up in the new "death by intensive care" epidemic in which the "care" is often more destructive than the disease. We want to do the best thing, but are overwhelmed with the staggering choices we face. Geriatrician Dennis McCullough has spent his life helping families to cope with their parents' aging and eventual final passage, experiences he too faced with his own mother. In this comforting and much-needed book, he recommends a new approach: Slow Medicine. Shaped by common sense and kindness, grounded in traditional medicine yet receptive to alternative therapies, Slow Medicine is a measured treatment of "less is more" that improves the quality of patients' extended late lives without bankrupting their families financially or emotionally. Expensive state-of-the-art medical interventions do not necessarily deliver superior outcomes, Dr. McCullough argues. Gentle, personal care often yields better results, not only for elders in late life, but for the families who love them.


"You must let go of all the 'why's' and 'what if's' and focus on 'what now?' Understand that despite all your vigilance and careful efforts, some crises will be unavoidable."

-from My Mother, Your Mother


Dennis McCullough, M.D., has been an "in-the-trenches" family physician and geriatrician for 30 years. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and serves as a faculty member in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. He is a member of the American Geriatrics Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and the American Medical Directors Association, as well as the coauthor of The Little Black Book of Geriatrics. He lives with his wife, the poet Pamela Harrison, in Norwich, VT. Photo by: Lia Rothstein