Living and Dying With Dignity – A daughter’s journey through long-term care



On this page: About the Book | Target Audience | About the Author

Book & Blog links: Book Blog (table of contents, excerpts, glossary, acronyms) | Current Senior's Health Issues |

Be near me when my light is low.-- Alfred Lord Tennyson, poet laureate of the U.K. (1809 – 1892)

Publishing Details

The book is available at, Chapters, Penny Varney Gallery (Gravenhurst),or the publisher. (Any bookstore can order it in from the publisher.)



About the journey

After a childhood in a loving, adoptive family, Jennifer helped her parents battle the fight of their lives. Her mother’s battle with cancer transformed their relationship as cancer framed the lives of this closely-knit family. The assistance she gave her father, while he was fighting a losing battle with his brain tumour, has had an ongoing physical, social and emotional impact. His placement in Long-Term Care relieved some issues and introduced others. The depression and life changes she experienced as a caregiver is an all too familiar story to those in the sandwich generation.

Penny Varney & me

The first part of this book is a memoir of the journey Jennifer took, while walking hand in hand with her parents through the valley of the shadow of death. It is a reflection on her own and her parent’s suffering to help others learn from her life lessons and her mistakes. Her research on depression, cancer, brain tumours, and the issues of seniors and health care, are contained in the final section of this book.

This is a book directed at caregivers; aging spouses, adult children, those who work for profit and non-profit agencies, as well as seniors, health care workers and anyone with an interest in the final stage of life.

Jennifer continues to blog about her journey as she watches the Health Care Industry and issues relating to seniors. The Table of Contents is here. The book includes a Glossary, as well as Acronyms page. Jennifer has donated copies to various groups: Hopsices, hospitals, LTC home, Retirement homes, libraries. If you would like a copy, whether for your organization or for review, please contact the author or the publisher.

both my babies!

My one-year old granddaughter!


Jenn&herMomMy mother had a great deal of trouble with me but I think she enjoyed it. --Mark Twain, American humorist, satirist, lecturer (1835 - 1910)



Ontario Seniors

Health Care Blog



Book Content: (on my blog full table of contents)

The book is divided up into two parts:

Section one: Memoir: a diary of events of my mother's luekoplakia cancer tumours, her death, as well as my father's brain tumour surgery. He lived in LTC for 6 months after having to leave the retirement home. His health deteriorated so much we needed more care. This section has 9 chapters.

Section two: is the research around eldercare, senior's and cancer, as well as the treatments my parents underwent: radiation, chemotherapy, and the resulting symptoms of death and dying. I have created an acronym list, as well as a glossary of related health care terms.

My audience includes many of those in the sandwich generation who care for ailing parents. It is a helpful guide for those working in LTC, or for physicians who need a better understanding of what aging seniors and their families face, the decisions that must be made, and the rights that must govern them.

Dying With Dignity is primarily addressed to women in similar situations, who tend to be the caregivers in families and make incredible sacrifices through their personal and professional lives. I have not found any books that deal with this situation: how to care for ailing parents who refuse help and are determined to stay in their own home and deny their ill health. This is a common experience according to my support networks. I adapted, created and devised many strategies, based on my educational experiences, parenting experiences, and Peer Counsellors that made living with death easier. These chronicles would help others in similar situation.

Sandra Winspear

Jennifer donated a copy to Hospice Muskoka, Sandra Winspear: Executive Director.


About the Author

Jennifer Jilks is an educator, writer, and an avid reader and researcher. As a life-long learner, she desperately sought information on her parent’s respective cancers. As a member of the sandwich generation, she juggled adult children, her career, and the increasing frailty of her parents. Jennifer and her husband moved to provide care to her dying parents. After her mother died, and her father’s recurring brain tumour became malignant, she faced menopause, depression, and the end of her teaching career as her old life came tumbling down. She focused in helping her father die well in Long-Term Care in the Ontario Health Care System, documenting the process in her journal.

An educator, leader and lifelong learner, Jennifer is an avid reader, writer and blogger. She has developed expertise in working with a wide range of professionals in education and health care. This has helped her negotiate with medical staff while advocating for her parents. She sits on the Family, Youth Child Services Muskoka Board of Directors, keeping her involved in the community. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education, also, a B.Ed. and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Technology, with experience teaching students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 8, and a Special Education Specialist, she worked with many special needs students. She has delivered workshops to peers, and lectured on a part time basis at the University of Ottawa to student teachers.

Jennifer Jilks

For further information visit her website at Her other publications are cited at Home | Articles | e-Portfolio




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Contact me: contact me Jennifer A. Jilks