TOPICS > Health > long-term care

‘Getting old ain’t for sissies’: Cartoonist Jack Ohman draws his dad’s final years

BY   April 30, 2015 at 5:04 PM EDT

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When editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman sat down to illustrate his father’s final years, he did not want to sugar-coat his own experiences providing four years of long term care. Otherwise, the story would not have been worth telling, he explained.

“If you try to be intellectually honest in your work, when you bring up things like people thinking about suicide and what kind of diapers you’re buying for your dad, I think that’s a realistic portrayal of what life is like,” said Ohman, who works for the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

“When you bring up things like people thinking about suicide and what kind of diapers you’re buying for your dad, I think that’s a realistic portrayal of what life is like.”He knows that he’s not alone as millions of people care for aging parents, he said, and found himself “raising teenagers and knowing what my father’s battery size was for his hearing aid.”

It was difficult, but he said he acted with a sense of duty.

“He took care of me, and we had our issues, but I felt he was owed a dignified life, and I wanted to help him,” Ohman said.

The PBS NewsHour presents the first monthly installment of a four-part cartoon series produced by Ohman to describe his experience offering long-term care to his father.

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Read part 2 of 5: The last time I went fishing with my Dad

Reporting by Laura Santhanam

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