For those taking care of their aging parents or other elders, the emotions may be decidedly mixed, and as our population ages, more and more of us will be experiencing those emotions and often thinking that we’re experiencing them on our own. The good news is that there’s a growing body of literature – real-life literature, not academic tomes – where the writers share their insights and often their direct personal experiences. From these books, elder-caregivers can come away with both practical tips, and the comfort of knowing that there are many others who share in our challenges and experience the same feelings we’re grappling with.
Here’s a list of books that you might find helpful:
- A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents–and OurselvesA Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents–and Ourselves by Jane Gross. When Gross and her brother found themselves responsible for the care of their 85 yearold mother, they had to learn an awful lot, awful fast, about assisted living. In this book, Gross shares the information she would have liked to have had when she began her journey.
- Caring for Your Parents: The Complete AARP Guide by Hugh Delehanty and ElinorGinzler. Now nearly a decade old – but still relevant – Caring for Your Parents draws on AARP’s long experience and well-earned expertise on the topic of eldercare. The book includes proven recommendations, tips and insights.
- The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook: How to Care for Your Aging Parent Without Losing Yourself Yourself by Alexis Abramson. An authority on caring for the elderly, Abramson’s focusis on offering a practical and supporting guide for those juggling care of their parentswith the demands of their own family, professional and personal lives.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding Bonding by Joan Lunden and Amy Newmark. The take-away from this is that you’re notalone. The stories in this collection covers family caregivers of all ages, and also offersstories from the perspective of those who are receiving care. Caregiving requires sacrifice. The stories in here will underscore why that sacrifice is so worthwhile.
- No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days by Susan Allen Toth. The caregiver’s daysthat Toth recounts weren’t for her parents. They were for her husband, who sufferedfrom Parkinson’s disease and dementia. In her memoir, she account for the emotional, physical and practical challenges she faced during the last 18 months of her husband’slife.
- Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents Even if They Didn’t Take Care of You by Roberta Satow. For many of those caring for their aging parents, comfort can be drawn from the fact that they’re paying back those parents for a lifetime of love and care. But that’s not the experience for everyone, and some take on the task even when they don’t have a strong, solid relationship to base their care on. This book will help those caregivers figure out how.
- Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir by Martha Stettinius. Certainly, one of the most dreaded diagnoses that anyone will ever hear is “Alzheimer’s disease.” Stettinius heard that diagnosis for her mother. In her book she chronicles her experience helping her mother throughout the inevitable progression of this dread disease.
- They’re Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy by Francine Russo. Sibling rivalry doesn’t end once you’re out of the house. This book offers guidance on how adult siblings can negotiate the myriad decisions they need to make about their parents’ care, with minimal conflict, guilt, and anger.
- When the Time Comes: Families with Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions by Paula Span. Span is a journalist who worked with a number of families struggling to figure out what the right thing to do when it comes to evaluating the many eldercare options out there. Her families looked at assisted living, home care, nursing homes, hospice – all hoping to find a solution that worked for them and for their loved ones.
- A Life Forgotten: From the Eyes of the Caregiver by Judy Thompson. Like Susan Toth, Thompson was caring not for her parents, but for her husband – a husband with Alzheimer’s. This is Toth’s story on what Alzheimer’s like when seen through “the eyes of the caregiver.”
Orbita’s not in the book business. We’re focused on digital home care solutions for both those in need of care and the caregivers themselves. But we do know that sometimes you just need to curl up with a good book, so we’ve shared this list in hopes that you’ll find that good book among them.