Compassionate, practical caregiving advice

October 21, 2016

caregiving-adviceAre you concerned about what will happen when your elderly parents can no longer care for themselves? No one gives us caregiving advice when we’re younger. As we get older, so do they, and often, it falls to us to figure out what to do, how to handle it.  No one has prepared us.

Until now.

9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent is subtitled “a love story of a different kind” and it’s clear that author Stefania Shaffer speaks for many experienced, compassionate caregivers in her new book. Practical advice, compassion, action plans—it’s all here. The humorous incidents, the frustrating moments and some of the most touching, moving prose that I’ve ever read.

She tells her own story, and all along the way provides excellent advice and compassionate understanding that anyone engaged in caregiving—or planning for it—would find helpful. Plus, she’s done a tremendous amount of research so her readers don’t have to — it’s chock full of useful resources.  Given in the context of her own caregiving story, the advice is starkly appropriate.

If, for some reason, a reader wants a shorter version that includes only advice and resources and not her beautiful story, the shorter Companion Playbook has “just the facts, ma’m” and is available separately.

But why would you not want her memoir? Shaffer’s story is moving and beautiful and so worth the read.

This would be a thoughtful gift –for a holiday or just anytime– for someone who is either anticipating caregiving or in the midst of it.

caregiving-adviceI am no stranger to caregiving.

When my mother was hospitalized for almost a year, I spent at least a week or two a month traveling from Florida to western New York so I could be at her bedside, helping care for her. My siblings both worked full-time, so my visits, thanks to leave from my own work, were the few long stretches where a family member had long days of caregiving duties over a week or two. Which is an entirely different thing than popping in for a couple of hours. I was, in a word, clueless.

During the last year of my beloved friend’s life, her closest friends banded became a caregiving team, even spending the night with her for periods of time. It would have been so helpful for us and her grown children to have this book. I was glad when Stefania offered to send me a copy for an honest review and even happier to highly recommend it.

You want this book and I want you to have it. In fact, I want you to have both the book and the Playbook and so does the author. We’re doing a giveaway of the duo of books to one lucky person who comments on this post.

Comment below, making certain your email is in the comment signup so I have a way to reach you if you win.

This giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. and the deadline for entries is Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 at 11:59 pm. Yep, just before it’s Tuesday.

And if you don’t win a book? Buy it. The caregiving advice is superb and the memoir is beautiful.  You won’t be sorry. It’s available at all the usual places.

47 comments on “Compassionate, practical caregiving advice
  1. Jamie Clark says:

    I’m 46 and blessed to have both my parents still living. But I know the time is coming when they will need my help more. I’m the oldest of 4 and would definitely love this book.

  2. I’m caregiving for my mom now, much more emotionally charged than the 10 years of caregiving I devoted to my ex-husband! I know what needs to done, but still a challenge.

  3. Leanne says:

    I’m blessed that my mum is in really robust health (probably due to her much younger lover!) and my dad passed relatively easily (if there’s such a thing). The book sounds like an excellent resource – and one I’ll keep in mind for future reference.

  4. Fatima Zehra says:

    I feel thankful that both my parents are in their best health but I know that one day they’ll need my care and I’ll be there to give it. Thanks for the post 🙂

  5. Amy Putkonen says:

    I would love to win this book. My parents both live far away and I worry about when they are not able to care for themselves. They each have people nearby but I feel sad that I am not closer to them.

  6. it is a tough road to travel – i think of it as a club none of asked to join. My office closed at the end of 2015 – I was there 27 years. I thought – I’m going to take so “ME” time – but the dates coincided with my mothers demise. She is very healthy, but she became more and more disoriented. Moving her into memory care did not end my caregiving – I am basically “on call” when anything happens, doctors appointments, lawyer visits. I found a support group that is very helpful. I am in the process of putting together a reading list, as I’m a reader and I find solace in the printed word. Also, it is important we take care of ourselves and make the journey easier for those that come after us!

  7. Diane says:

    Both parents gone now. But I’m considering getting a copy for my kids.
    Who will have to deal with me!

  8. Donna says:

    The best part of life is sharing the wisdom we sometimes painfully acquire. Many many people will benefit from this. My story is very sad and I wish I could have done things so much better.I still have a lot of regrets.

  9. Kelly says:

    My parents are both gone, one from lung cancer, and one from pneumonia after a long descent into dementia. Both grueling. Now my older sister has end stage liver cancer – I know what is coming and I dread it.

  10. Jay Colby says:

    This was an lovely read!

  11. Diane made an excellent suggestion in passing this along to kids as well as reading for ourselves.With my own parents, I have not become a regular caregiver yet, but it’s certainly easy to imagine as years pass. But. I know their needs will be hard to discern from what they say because they are both care-resistant.

    A resource like this will help me know what to expect.

  12. Michelle says:

    I have friends going through this now. Thank you,,,,I’m sharing your blog and book recommendation with them.

  13. sue says:

    both of my parents passed away over 30 years ago Carol however we are now in the position of being caregivers for my 90 year old mother-in-law. It has really put a strain on our relationship so I would be interested in reading this book. Unfortunately, we aren’t taught how to be parents, or caregivers to our parents and sometimes it can be stressful knowing what is best for them.

  14. Wow! I wish my husband and I would have had this book one or two years ago. It would have been helpful in the time between my mother-in-law’s stroke and her passing in September. It sounds like it will still be a fascinating read. Perhaps I’ll win. (fingers crossed)

  15. Kim says:

    I am not in this situation yet so would love to read this book.

  16. This is such a great topic. You can never be too prepared for taking care of your parents or grandparents. I’m sure this book will be a great resource for my siblings and me especially as our grandparents are getting older.

  17. Amber Myers says:

    The book sounds interesting!

    I know my mom helps take care of her 93 year old mother now. She’s in a retirement home but my mom still helps her out a lot.

  18. Elizabeth O. says:

    I think this book is great, it’s not just for people who are in the midst of caring for a loved one but it’s also something that adults can read to get a better understanding of what it’s like to care for someone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it as well.

  19. Tara Pittman says:

    This book would be great for my mom. She is caring for my ill father.

  20. Clara says:

    I always appreciate first person stories of people who have to deal with difficult situations. Thank you for sharing!

  21. peace kairu says:

    awww this an excellent book I work for an agency and the best are givers are the ones whose had personal experience because they always pay extra attention as they have had first hand experience. This book is perfect as I can imagine the questions in someone mind.

  22. Resources like this are so helpful. I only found a few AFTER my 7 months of caregiving for both of my parents. I can see why someone who is in the middle of caregiving might only want the facts, but I love reading these stories. I would love both of these books!

  23. Vyjay says:

    This book sound like a really poignant and tender account. The subject of caregiving itself is so timeless and also topical. I am sure the book comes at the right time.

  24. Wendy Polisi says:

    This book will help a lot of people to value of caring to their parents.

  25. Carol, thanks for sharing this book. It sounds like it is a book and resource that is much needed.
    Bloggers Pit Stop

  26. My Mum had me when she was only 17, and I’m thankful for the relatively small age gap between us. It gave me the chance to enjoy my childhood with my great grandmother, who lived to a full age of 89, just a few months before I gave birth to my son. It would have been awesome had she been able to meet her great great grandson.

  27. Sharon says:

    My brother, at 55, was diagnosed with cancer. My 3 sisters and I took care of him until he died … way too soon, way too early. It’s an experience that leaves you reeling.

  28. Nicky says:

    Although hard to think about, it is always good to have a plan.

  29. OurFamilyWorld says:

    Sounds an interesting book for me and I think this is better for my mom. Thanks for the ideas

  30. Sara says:

    You are so right. We rarely face the latter part of the life cycle – growing older and then death. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, but something like this book will certainly help us pass through this time with less stress.

    Thanks for sharing this book.

  31. My husband helped take care of his grandmother when she had Alzheimer’s. He probably would have appreciated this book back then.

  32. This is so beautiful and a great thought behind taking care and be a caregiver.

  33. Gilly says:

    It certainly is a challenging time, so this book may be very useful to those of us caring for our parents. Thank you. I am just very grateful that so far, my sister and I are able to look after our parents in their own home. Hopefully, they will continue to be mentally fit enough to remain there together until the end with us taking it in turns to live-in part time. It is very hard watching the physical decline with all the issues it raises and the need for more and more time to be spent with them. But we wouldn’t have it any other way – we do not want any regrets when they have passed and thankfully, our husbands are very supportive.

  34. Ima says:

    Caring for an elderly one is never easy
    I see the way my mom spends a lot of time and resources on my grandfather.
    It’s worth it but still, it takes up a lot from her

  35. Valerie says:

    Very helpful. I’m caregiving for my stepmom now and did for my mom and grandparents too. I never guessed in my 30’s this would happen. Hugs and thank you for writing this.

  36. Cori says:

    My mom is the main caregiver for my grandma, while her brother does nothing. I feel bad for her, but I just don’t know how to help. I’ve tried asking and tried different things to give her breaks. I’m at a loss sometimes.

  37. Lisa Rios says:

    I think it is our moral responsibility to do the best in providing care giving to our parents when they get old as we will be the next after them. I would love to grab a copy of the book and make sure my kids also read them, though practical life of how I care my parents is what going to inspire them in future!

  38. Carol, this post was among the most clicked on the Blogger’s Pit Stop. Be looking fora feature on Friday.


  39. candy says:

    Since my husband and I are in our mid 50’s we are starting to worry and prepare for our old age.

  40. Christina Aliperti says:

    This is wonderful for caregivers. I wish there was a resource like this when we were caring for my grandmother. She had Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s so it was rough.

  41. Home care services can be tailored to your individual needs. You may only need some help with regular household chores to keep your living spaces clean.

  42. I like your article it’s very detailed about caregiving advice to the elderly. Will recommend this to some of my friends. Great work!

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