The Thoughtful Caregiver: Surviving, Thriving and Growing in Spirit as You Care for Your Elderly Parent
In the summer of 2009, Rebecca James Hecking’s elderly father suffered a catastrophic fall that turned his life upside down and launched her into nearly six years of active caregiving for both her parents. The experience was emotionally challenging, heart opening and ultimately life changing.
Written to provide emotional support and practical advice for you, the adult child caregiver, it will help you navigate the many challenges you may encounter as you care for your elderly parent. Part practical advice, part spiritual guide, The Thoughtful Caregiver is your companion on the caregiving journey. Although there are many excellent books on eldercare available, few focus primarily on the needs and experience of the adult child caregiver directly. The Thoughtful Caregiver was written to fill that gap.
The Thoughtful Caregiver covers a wide range of topics including:
• Handling the unique stresses of caregiving
• Finding balance between caregiving and the rest of your life
• Negotiating the parent/adult child relationship
• Surviving the emotional nightmare of a parent with dementia
• Navigating a major move
• Coping with sudden, unexpected crises
• Decision making at the end of life
• Balancing expectations and reality
• Handling the holidays and the unique challenges they pose to caregiving
• Sorting out the intersection of grief and dementia
• Developing creative coping rituals unique to you
• Sorting out the emotional baggage of your relationship with your parent
• Growing into greater compassion
• Integrating your caregiving years into the bigger picture of your life
Each chapter is labeled with several word tags such as anger, crisis, self-care, or family dynamics that are indexed in the back of the book to help you find exactly the support you need when you need it. There are also several questions at the end of each chapter that are suitable for journaling or reflection to help you gain perspective on your own unique situation.
Throughout the book, Rebecca shares her own story, and offers a mix of practical physical advice and mindful reflection. The Thoughtful Caregiver is like having a conversation over a cup of tea with a friend who has walked the caregiving path a little bit ahead of you.