THESE ARE THE FACTS: There are over 100 types of dementia affecting over 50 million people around the world. Unfortunately, knowing the hard numbers doesn’t make caregiving less demanding, challenging, exhausting, and, yes, many times and in many ways, potentially uplifting. Caregiving is typically understood as an activity, as something we do – likely because caregivers do a lot. But caregiving is deeper than what we do. It is more than a series of tasks. It is, first and foremost, a call to love.
In How the Light Shines each chapter engages an issue raised by caregivers themselves and is filled with real-life stories that convey the realities of caregiving, as well as tips and advice, and spiritual insight and guidance. It is written with both individuals and groups in mind. Each chapter includes questions and, for personal or group reflection, a spiritual practice and a prayer grounded in the pain and possibilities of it all.
In How the Light Shines, Trisha Elliott invites caregivers, of which she is one, to dive deep, to confront the challenges – physical, emotional, and spiritual – that are part and parcel of caring for someone with dementia, and also to explore the possibility that caregiving is a holy calling, that it is not just about learning a set of skills, but can be a path to a deeper relationship with God and with the divine spirit in all of us, including those with dementia.
Hard Choices for Loving People: CPR, Artificial Feeding, Comfort Care and the Patient with a Life-Threatening Illness, Fifth Edition is a guide to help patients and families with end-of-life decisions. The author, Hank Dunn draws on his extensive experience as a chaplain in a nursing home, hospice program and hospital. In Hard Choices he shares stories of many of the patients and families he has help guide through this most difficult and important time in their lives. He also has conducted a thorough search of the medical literature citing almost 150 journal articles of research into the topics discussed in the book.
To view the guide, click on the following link: https://www.alzconnected.org/uploadedFiles/HardChoices.pdf
In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! Psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world.
To view a video of her TED talk, click on the following link: https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_carstensen_older_people_are_happier?language=en
Swedish death cleaning refers to getting rid of everything people will dispose of after you die but doing it while you are still alive so they don’t have to worry about it. The benefit to you is having a decluttered, efficient home to live in.
Read about it in Margreta Magnusson’s book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones’ Lives Easier and Your On Life More Pleasant.”
For more information, click on the following link: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-swedish-death-cleaning-should-you-be-doing-it-ncna816511
Evan Imber-Black has written a book titled The Secret Life of Families: Making Decisions About Secrets: When Keeping Secrets Can Harm You, When Keeping Secrets Can Heal You-And How to Know the Difference. Amazon reviews it as follows:
Secrets come in all shapes and sizes. And for families as well as individuals, they are built on a complex web of shifting motives and emotions. But today, when personal revelations are posted on the Internet or sensationalized on afternoon talk shows, we risk losing touch with how important secrets are–how they are used and abused, their power to harm and heal.
In this important work, Evan Imber-Black explores the nature of secrets, helping us understand:
The distinction between healthy privacy and toxic secrecy
What to tell–and not to tell–young children
How to safely confront a family “zone of silence”
Why adolescents need to have some secrets–and where to draw the line
The effect of “official” secrets, like sealed adoption records and medical testing
What to consider before revealing an important secret
And much more
Filled with moving first-person stories, The Secret Life of Families provides perspective on some of today’s most sensitive personal and social issues. Giving voice to our deepest fears and to our power to overcome them, this is a book that will be talked about for years to come.
This Atlantic Monthly article briefly reviews 9 books that reflect on death. To see the review, click on the following link:
Love’s Way, a new book by Carolyn Parr and Sig Cohen, is the single best resource for aging peacefully that I know of. These two experienced mediators have written a practical and comprehensive guide for anyone conscious of moving from midlife autonomy to increasing interdependence with family or friends. As the subtitle suggests, it’s about “living peacefully with your family as your parents age.”
Carolyn, a local judge and long-time member of Festival Church, draws from her experience in Church of the Saviour as well as her legal practice. Her mediation partner, Sig Cohen, is a retired Foreign Service officer with a keen eye for family dynamics. By alternating chapters, they cover a broad range of issues, from emotional roadblocks and sibling rivalry to economic and legal matters. The personal stories make it accessible and engaging.
Here is the list of topics featured on the back cover:
- How to address family issues such as unhealed sibling rivalries, parental favoritism, greed and secrecy
- How to navigate all the necessary legal documents such as wills and powers of attorney
- How to promote forgiveness in your family and in your own heart
- How to speak truth in love to parents, siblings, and children
- How to let go and heal any family rifts.
Love’s Way can be purchased at The Potter’s House, from Hendrickson Publishers, or ordered from other commercial websites.
-Marjory Zoet Bankson, Seekers Church
To read a review of Gail Collins’ No Stopping Us Now, a social history of Americans’ attitudes toward older women, click on the following link: https://www.npr.org/2019/10/18/770647369/past-their-prime-at-20-book-chronicles-attitudes-toward-female-aging-in-america
In his new book, Arthur Kleinman, a psychiatrist and medical anthropologist, describes the ten years he spent caring for his wife, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s. and navigating an often unfeeling health-care system on her behalf. Despite the social isolation and stress he suffered, he also found fulfillment and beauty in the experience and wrote this book to comfort and educate family caregivers and clinicians.
To learn more about the book and read an excerpt, click on the following link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/573438/the-soul-of-care-by-arthur-kleinman/