November is National Caregivers Month, a time for us to honor the 43 million Americans who care for a loved one. Caregivers often have full- or part-time jobs in addition to providing care. We understand the challenges, hard work, and dedication it takes to care for another person. Caregiving is an around the clock job, often unpaid and under-appreciated.
If you or someone you love is a caregiver, first and foremost—we thank you for all that you do! Next, please know that taking care of yourself and the proper resources can help you along the journey.
To celebrate National Caregivers Month, we’ve put together a list of nine books that every caregiver should take the time to read.
1. Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey, by Jolene Brackey
In the daily moments of caregiving, sometimes it can be hard to feel happy or joyous. This book focuses on how to embrace those elusive moments during difficult days. Though our loved one’s memory may fail, and they may not remember the things we say or do, the feelings of love we share with them linger. The author walks you through how to focus on the gifts of life, even amidst pain and heartache.
2. The Conscious Caregiver, by Linda Abbitt
This work’s subtitle, “A mindful approach to caring for your loved one without losing yourself,” sums up the goal of the book. Burnout and exhaustion are major concerns for all caregivers. Abbitt explains steps to care for yourself while actively taking care of your loved one. The book also provides simple solutions to carve out the time you need and lessen the risk of burnout.
3. The Caregiving Season: Finding Grace to Honor Your Aging Parents, by Jane Daly
The Caregiving Season is filled with practical guidance on managing daily life as a caregiver. The author provides actionable tips on how to navigate caregiving with humor and grace to maintain the dignity of your loved one. While the book focuses on parents, it can apply to any loved one. Daly includes personal stories and advice on how to manage the complexities of caregiving, with a bonus of humor throughout.
4. Caring for the Caregiver, by Cheri Swalwell
As a caregiver, Cheri Swalwell gives an honest look at what it means to care for a loved one full-time. The book offers advice on how to best navigate your individual caregiving experience. It’s filled with encouragement and practical tips—with an emphasis on spiritual nourishment and self-care. Swalwell also explains how to find time for yourself when it seems impossible.
5. The Family Caregiver’s Manual: A Practical Planning Guide to Managing the Care of Your Loved One, by David Levy
Besides managing the health of your loved one, most caregivers also need to manage finances and legal needs. This book walks you through the nuts and bolts of caregiving, detailing forms that you need, and precautions to take. The author helps you manage your loved one’s financial matters with more confidence and gives you peace of mind while you move through this challenging time.
6. A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents—and Ourselves, by Jane Gross
Author, Jane Gross, a New York Times expert on elder care, speaks from her personal experience as a caregiver for a parent in this must-have book for every caregiver’s personal library. From finding the right doctors to moving your loved one to a memory care community, Gross shares what to consider, specifically within the healthcare system. She also elaborates on how to care for yourself in the process.
7. The 36-Hour Day, by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins
With more than three million copies sold, this book is an essential resource for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Now in its sixth edition, Mace and Rabins share resources on caring for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as handling your own self-care. The 36-Hour Day provides a comprehensive list of the latest research, newest devices, and medical equipment, as well as support groups throughout the country.
8. Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents, by Iris Waichler
Role Reversal is an invaluable resource for caregivers. The book details the daily challenges faced interspersed with personal experiences. The author, Iris Waichler, is an expert in patient advocacy and clinical social work. Waichler provides viewpoints from both a caregiving and professional perspective. Role Reversal will help with everything from getting through the day to what you need to know about estate planning.
9. Cruising through Caregiving: Reducing the Stress of Caring for Your Loved One, by Jennifer Fitzpatrick
Author Jennifer Fitzpatrick brings a wealth of experience from both the caregiving and the professional side to give you guidance on how to balance your life moving forward as a caregiver. She provides practical advice, including how to delegate responsibilities, manage finances, and navigate family living situations.
Happy National Caregivers Month!
Caregiving is an extremely difficult and demanding job. One that we’re often thrown into without any training or experience because a loved one faces health issues, and as children or family, we need to step up. Know that there are resources and help available for you, and remember to take time for yourself.
Make sure to take the time to thank the caregivers in your life, and not just during National Caregivers Month. Caregiving is a year-round, 24/7 position that demands respect from us all.
Are you a caregiver that needs more help? Please reach out to your nearest Vineyard community. We’d love to support you and your family along your journey!