Nine Lives, Sarah J. Merrill, ed. (Vol. I., 2003, Vol. II., 2005). Eldergivers, 1755 Clay St., San Francisco, CA 94109, (415) 441-2650), www.eldergivers.org/giftshop/. $20.00 (Vol. I) and $25.00 (Vol. II). Each of these two volumes contains summaries of relationships volunteers developed with nine residents of skilled nursing facilities. As readers, we are reminded that people in nursing homes had full and active lives before having to deal with disabilities related to aging. We also see that lives are complicated and the good and bad are shared without judgment. The trepidation and joy the volunteers experienced as they got to know “their” seniors makes this an interesting summary of the people, both residents and interviewers, whose lives were touched as they got to know one another. This book helps humanize the nursing home experience and reduce some of the aversion that some may feel in approaching the idea of a nursing home.
Nurturing Nuggets for Dementia Caregivers, Susan E. Lanza (2006). Buttonberry Books, 29 Sawmill Road, Lebanon, NJ 08833, www.nurturingnuggets.com. $6.95. This little pocket book is easy to read and full of handy tips to help caregivers remember to take care of themselves as well as their loved ones. Each page has ideas and informational tidbits as well as inspirational messages to support caregivers in their roles.
Heart Wide Open, Self Care for Caregivers, Sandi Kimmel and Patrick Murphy (2005). Sterling Heart Publishing, 45264 Aguila Court, Temecula, CA 92592, (619) 838-1170, www.sterlingheart.com. $9.00. This booklet helps care-givers of people with any illness to manage the feelings associated with being a caregiver. It includes chapters on Eating Chocolate and Playing—important things to remember when caring for someone else!
Medifocus Guide: Parkinson’s Disease (Updated May, 2006). www.medifocus.com, (800) 965-3002. Available in electronic format for $19.95, or print format with electronic access for $24.95; including online updates every four months for one year. This guide is an excellent tool for patients and caregivers wishing to learn as much as possible about current research and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, including clinical trials. Clearly written and very comprehensive, it includes an in-depth overview of the disease with a directory of related organizations, and sections on “Centers of Research,” “Tips for Finding and Choosing a Doctor” and “Recent Literature: What Your Doctor Reads.” The literature section is designed for use with computer web access; titles of recently-published medical journal articles are listed by category, with web links to the abstracts (summaries) of those articles. Print version readers will also want computer internet access to take advantage of the free updates. Even without computer access, however, this is a valuable guide for those seeking more thorough medical information on Parkinson’s Disease. Other Medifocus Guides are available covering more than 30 chronic and/or life threatening conditions. All sources are peer reviewed and reviewed by a Medical Advisory Board.
The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent, Barry J. Jacobs (2006). The Guilford Press, 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012, (800) 365-7006 ext. 257, www.guilford.com. $14.95 (paperback). Dr. Jacobs draws both from years of practice as a clinician and from his experience with the debilitating impacts of serious illness on his own family. The focus here is on the emotional survival of the family, and how important it is to find a balance between taking care of a sick or aging loved one and taking care of each other. We get a close look at the caregiving experience from the interior perspective of each member of a fictional family, an illustration of how a family might typically cope with illness, new caregiver roles, and most of all, each other. Each chapter of the book focuses on a different emotional issue, and at the end of each chapter there is a question and answer segment where difficult scenarios are illustrated and discussed. Guidelines, advice, and questions for the reader are interspersed with the narrative. This insightful book is an important guide for any family trying to care for a loved one.
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