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Taking Care of Mom & Dad

James Silva sleeps a lot these days, but when he's up, there's no telling what he'll do. Sometimes he'll carry boiling water around the apartment, forgetting that his three small grandchildren may be underfoot. Sometimes he'll carve imaginary chickens with butcher knives. And sometimes he'll escape, slipping out the back door and onto the Brockton streets, walking aimlessly until the police haul him home or someone else finds him. Once his son Ken found him wandering through the Combat Zone.

Now there's a gate in front of his bedroom door that locks from the outside. That lock was Barbara Silva's idea. She was going crazy chasing her father-in-law around. But she knows that the lock is merely a Band-Aid. As Alzheimer's disease creeps deeper into his brain, 75-year-old Grandpa James understands less, functions less. At night Barbara puts him to bed. In the morning she cleans up the urine puddles he leaves when he misses the toilet. During the day she shoos him away from the stove, the knives, the china, anything that he could hurt or could hurt him.

The Silvas know they can't go on like this.

Selected Works

Cold. Rain. Black flies. Biting dogs. What else could go wrong on this bike vacation?
Yankee Magazine
Alison Hardy has dedicated her career to saving antique windows.
Travel essay published in the anthology "Around the World."
How does one survive biking in Cambridge, the legendary English city of narrow, winding streets, congested traffic, bellowing drivers, and cows? Lots of cows.
Caught between caring for their parents and their own families, members of the sandwich generation struggle to cope with the many challenges of parenting a parent.
Can you be fit and fat? Contrary to common belief, yes you can.
Writer Sue Hertz explores a lifelong ambition – learning to sing on key. Can she? Will she?
With the help of an antiques dealer, nutritionist, and a medieval scholar, Carol Shea-Porter, who had never held public office, beat the Republican incumbent to represent her New Hampshire district in the U.S. Congress.
Remember the warmth, the closeness, the dailiness of the family meal? Neither do we. A Boston Magazine essay exploring the reasons behind the disappearing family dinner and the repercussions.
Hockey great Bobby Orr may have knees like no other, but that doesn't mean the rest of us haven't abused the joint beyond its intention.
Boston Globe Magazine cover story on the gentrification of this seaport city on the coast of New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Historical Society's regal home, one of the state's most renowned structures, celebrates its 100th birthday. The path to the creation of Concord's architectural gem was anything but smooth.
Write Choices blasts through the boundaries between different forms of narrative nonfiction, focusing on the choices all writers of all forms make at every juncture, from choosing an idea, to collecting content, to creating a structure, to revising.
A powerful narrative illustrating the impact of abortion politics on women and health care workers.