Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Learning

I am a firm believer in reading about a topic that you are dealing with, if you do not know anything about it or simply need to gain more knowledge and insight.

Having said that....pertaining to caregiving....books only take you to a can only learn so much from them, the rest is on the job 'hands on (or in) learning.'

I know someone entering into this world of caring for a family member, who has books on caregiving, they believe they 'know' all there is to 'know' about it, you can't tell the individual anything about what to expect, what to plan and so on.

I am so glad they have all that information and everything is completely in order as they begin this journey.

That was being sarcastic in case you didn't pick up on that.

Are they kidding?  I read books too!  Do you want to know how much help they were these last 4 years?  Maybe on a scale of 1-10, let's say a 2! 

All the emotional changes, physical changes, attitude changes, mental changes, even spiritual can read about any of these in the myriad of caregiving books out there....but.....when you are in the middle of changing your mother's poop filled aren't going to remember the chapter, or the paragraph or the sentence, you aren't even going to remember the book that told you about this!

You come face to face with the reality of caregiving.

It is the point of no're elbow deep in a commitment you made, and no one and no book can help you at that time, your help is going to come from within yourself and hopefully you can call on God for strength and grace to get you through that moment and all the moments to come!

Books, yes, read books...but that does not make a person an experienced caregiver, only the experiences of caring for an individual whether family or friend in such a capacity, will do that.


  1. absolutely correct my friend...books can help you sometimes with symptoms, etc. but there is no book written that could ever prepare you for everything you described. experience is the key in all aspects....
    I have actually been purchasing inspirational books versus caregiving books these days.....I like reading things on helping me cope with all of the duties and responsibilities.....if however anyone could write a true tale book about caregiving and the feelings involved it most definately is you......great piece....

  2. So true. And it's definitely very a very interesting and learning experience as a grand-daughter helping with caregiving. You get a different perspective on life.
    And it's not easy, but in the end...well, you know. We'll find out. It'll be hard, maybe...but caring for life is precious. I see that.
    Great post, Donna.

  3. Hi Donna.....
    I have planned on doing a post on my blog at some point, on all the books I've been given or bought on Alzheimers and/or Care-giving. I've glanced through them, but not read any of them all the way through. For me, it's just too depressing. When I get to the parts that scare me or upset me.... then I put the book away. Not sure I'll ever finish any of them.

    The bottom line is that each of us (patient and care-giver) are so different.... different personalities, different situations....etc.... , but ...for me having a support system (like our blogs) is very comforting.
    Thanks for your post...!

  4. I gave away my books. Never looked at them. I told everyone I did but I didn't . We could write a book on the best way to clean our moms bottoms. But don't think anyone wants to hear that.

  5. Actually have read very few books about either Caregiving nor Alzheimer's. The one that bolstered me the most was in a backhanded way: Madeleine L'Engle's "The Summer of the Great-Grandmother" from 1974, sent to me by a friend.

    Here this famous author, with stable family life, lots of support from family, hired two college gals to help care for her feeble mother. Could hire whomever she wanted and needed to help. She even had an escape cottage to get away from the pressure. She got away to do some conference. One summer ONLY, and she went nuts. What the heck? Seems like she spent more energy avoiding helping than being there. Made me feel like Superwoman...

    The other book was biographical as well titled "Dancing with Rose." The author Lauren Kessler had dodged the bullet caring for her own mother with Alzheimer's, so she at first wrote about an Alzheimer's caregiving facility, then really bit into it to become a hired caregiver there. Very honest and personable.

    Hope my blog becomes a book one day. But suppose everyone has that thought.

    And I would sure like to know the best way to clean a bottom. I await... ;-)

  6. lol ok, I think the main topic for our book is "How to clean a bottom, or which diaper holds the most"!

    Karen, I bought a few books in 06, I knew I needed some foundational info, I had no one at that time to counsel or instruct me, not that it would actually help. But just to know some basics of 'this could be what you are in for' helped a bit. Then the fun began, and continues, for which no books are of help.

    CJ, yes, I want my blog to become a book to at some point, but for now, I will continue blogging away. It is the best outlet I have found, plus talking with fellow caregivers and other special people I have met along the way.

    Those books sound really good. I read very little, makes me fall asleep, unless they are maybe autobiographies, or help books, like for caregiving, and then I am pretty much a skimmer, and always read the back of the book first, (I am left handed, we do things like that lol). :D

  7. Donna, thanks my friend and I agree with you, I turn more to the inspirational books, like Denise's Take Comfort, or Pat Sample's Daily Comfort for Caregivers. I don't think there is to much more the other books are going to be able to do for me at this point. I do hope at some point to turn The Bear Hug Waltz into a book, that has been the goal for sometime.

    Dolores, I don't think I ever read any of my books all the way either, just skimming, reading the different chapters or paragrahs that applied to what I was going through at the time, or would soon be dealing with. I refer to them off and now recently as I am branching out in my writing and other things I want to be involved in concerning caregiving or caregivers. We are so different, our situations and circumstances are different, but caregivers have more common ground that they share in then any other group of people I have seen. That is why we can be such a strong support for each other, we get it!

  8. beka, how many of you assist with caring for your grandma? Does she live there with all of you, I don't remember what your mom had told me. You must write soon about the family dynamics in caring for her!

  9. Wow I love the look of you blog.i worked in a long term care facility for 10 year. I really enjoyed caring for the people who lived there but didn't so much care for some of the people I worked with. Would I care for my aging family members? The answer is a definite yes! I believe that they need the dignity they deserve till the end. come have a visit with me at