Jack Ohman

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

The PBS NewsHour is presenting a four-part cartoon series produced by Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman to describe his experience offering long-term care to his father.
The PBS NewsHour is presenting a four-part cartoon series produced by Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman to describe his experience offering long-term care to his father. johman@sacbee.com

The PBS NewsHour is presenting a four-part cartoon series produced by Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman to describe his experience offering long-term care to his father. Here’s the first installment. Reporting by Laura Santhanam.

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.

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.

Look for the next installment in Ohman’s cartoon series about his experience taking care of his father, coming at the end of May.

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.

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