As a caregiver, it is important that you take time for yourself to avoid caregiver burnout. Reading a good book can help you relieve stress by lowering your blood pressure and raising your serotonin—the “happy” hormone!—levels. Here are some great books that can help you stay knowledgeable about caregiving while taking a break from daily stress as well.
1. The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook: How to Care for Your Aging Parent Without Losing Yourself by Alexis Abramson
Overview: Being a caregiver can be rewarding but demanding work-and more than 40 million adult children find themselves experiencing the double duty of caring for their elders as they try to carry on a life of their own. The mission of this book is to help caregivers figure out how to look after aging loved ones, provide for other family members, and attend to their own career-without losing themselves in the process.
2. A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents–and Ourselves by Jane Gross
Overview: When Jane Gross found herself suddenly thrust into a caretaker role for her eighty-five year-old mother, she was forced to face challenges that she had never imagined. As she and her younger brother struggled to move her mother into an assisted living facility, deal with seemingly never-ending costs, and adapt to the demands on her time and psyche, she learned valuable and important lessons. Here, the longtime New York Times expert on the subject of elderly care and the founder of the New Old Age blog shares her frustrating, heartbreaking, enlightening, and ultimately redemptive journey, providing us along the way with valuable information that she wishes she had known earlier. We learn why finding a general practitioner with a specialty in geriatrics should be your first move when relocating a parent; how to deal with Medicaid and Medicare; how to understand and provide for your own needs as a caretaker; and much more. Wise, smart, and ever-helpful, A Bittersweet Season is an essential guide to caring for aging parents.
3. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding by Joan Lunden and Amy Newmark
Overview: Readers caring for an ailing family member will find support and encouragement in these stories by others like them. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers will inspire and uplift family members who are making sacrifices to make sure their loved ones are well cared for.
Do you have a family member who requires constant care? You are not alone. This collection offers support and encouragement in its 101 stories for family caregivers of all ages, including the “sandwich” generation caring for a family member while raising their children. With stories by those on the receiving end of the care too. These stories of love, sacrifice, and lessons will inspire and uplift family members making sacrifices to make sure their loved ones are well cared for, whether in their own homes or elsewhere.
4. Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir by Martha Stettinius
Overview: Wall Street Journal best seller (nonfiction e-books, May 2015). One of Alzheimers.net's 2014 Top Alzheimer's Books for Caregivers. Winner of the Memoirs category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Excellence Book Awards. Winner of a silver medal in the Health/Medical category of the 2013 Readers' Favorite book awards. Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir is the unflinching and hopeful story of one woman's journey into family caregiving, and a vivid overview of the challenges of Alzheimer's care.
5. No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days by Susan Allen Toth
Overview: When we promise “in sickness and in health,” it may be a mercy that we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Forcing food on an increasingly recalcitrant spouse. Brushing his teeth. Watching someone you love more than ever slip away day by day. As her husband James’s Parkinson’s disease with eventual dementia began to progress, writer Susan Allen Toth decides she intensely wants to keep her husband at home—the home he designed and loved and lived in for a quarter century—until the end.
No saint, as she often reminds the reader, Toth found solace in documenting her days as a caregiver. The result, written in brief, episodic bursts during the final eighteen months of James’s life, has a rare and poignant immediacy. Wrenching, occasionally peevish, at times darkly funny, and always deeply felt, Toth’s intimate, unsparing account reflects the realities of seeing a loved one out of life: the critical support of some friends and the disappearance of others; the elasticity of time, infinitely slow and yet in such short supply; the sheer physicality of James’s decline and the author’s own loneliness; the practical challenges—the right food, the right wheelchair, the right hospital bed—all intricately interlocking parts of the act of loving and caring for someone who in so many ways is fading away.