The Cultures of Caregiving: Conflict and Common Ground among Families, Health Professionals, and Policy Makers, Carol Levine and Thomas H. Murray (Eds.). (2004). The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. A well-written and thought-provoking book written by professionals in the health care industry, some who are family caregivers themselves. Working from the premise that families, health care profession-als, and health policy-makers and administrators have distinctive cultures—ways of viewing the world—which affect their priorities and actions in the care of an elderly or ill person, the authors examine how the roles of nurses, families and home health aides have evolved since the 1800s, and provide first-person narrative accounts of being both a professional in the health care industry and a family caregiver. The authors do a particularly good job of writing without the use of jargon or much reliance on statistics which might put off many lay and nonresearch trained readers. The book concludes with recommendations for ways to reduce the cultural barriers between these groups, including more specialized training for family caregivers on medical procedures that they are often asked to do at home and implementing the collaborative approach used by hospice care in other areas of chronic long-term care.
Tracking Your Medicine: How to Keep it Safe and Simple, Laurel Zien, (2004), BoomerView Press, El Cerrito, CA, www.BoomerView.com, $8.95. This booklet is geared to older adults or caregivers of older adults who are having difficulty managing medications. It includes a pill tracker form, a medicine list, and two types of schedules to help track medications. This practical guide should help organize medicines and insure they are taken properly.
The Seven Beliefs: A Step- by-Step Guide to Help Latinas Recognize and Overcome Depression, Belisa Lozano-Vranich, Psy.D and Jorge Petit, M.D., (2003), HarperCollins Publishers Inc., at www.harpercollins.com, $12.95. An interesting starting point for anyone new to understanding depression among Latinas, and a great resource for those suffering from depression or friends/family of those with depression. The authors organize the chapters into seven “beliefs.” Some of the beliefs include information specific to Latinas. The first chapter, for example, called “Believe in Yourself,” addresses one’s uniqueness within the Latino culture, and chapter five, called “Believe in Your Spirit,” emph-asizes the importance of spirituality and religion within Latino culture. Other chapters are universal. “Believe in Your Body,” for example, contains information helpful to all caregivers and includes information on the symptoms of and impact of depression. The book is also available in Spanish as Las Siete Creencias: Una Guia para Ayudar a las Latinas a Reconocer y Superar la Depresion.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s: Facing Difficult Decisions, Terra Nova Films, Inc., (800) 779-8491, $135. This 20-minute video was made specifically for caregivers of someone in the mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It covers the different symptoms and changes that occur in the later stages of the illness, treatment options for end-of-life care, and the choice between placement in a facility and home care. The video also explains the importance of early planning by the family while the care receiver is still high-functioning, and gives step-by-step instructions for how to conduct an effective family meeting in order to accomplish long-term care planning for the care receiver.
The Family Guide to Long-Term Care Vol. V: Legal Issues, (2002), LifeView Resources, (800) 395-LIFE or www.lifeview resources.com. This video is aimed at caregivers and elders who want to learn more about the legal issues related to long-term care. The video’s three segments cover Testamentary Wills; Living Wills/Advanced Health Direct-ives; and Durable Powers of Attorney (DPA) for Finance. A brief overview of each legal document is provided along with short interviews with an elder law attorney, an ethicist and a doctor. The video emphasizes the value of good communication so that all family members, medical professionals and facilities fully understand the person’s end-of-life wishes. The presenters recommend that everyone have a Living Will/Advance Directive and Durable Power of Attorney because statistics show 80% of people die in the hospital and most people do not wish to be placed on artificial life support.
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