A tough but persistent fact of life, we are happy to share 5 books selected and reviewed by Amy Florian, author and CEO of training company Corgenius. These are all excellent resources on the challenges of elder caregiving and the issues such as dementia and serious illness that make it necessary.
- The 36-Hour Day – Peter Mace and Nancy Rabins. This is a comprehensive guide to all things related to caring for a family member with dementia, whether they are in the home or in a facility (along with ways to help choose that facility). The authors educate about the disease itself and cover even the most uncomfortable aspects of losing capacity. I recommend it for any family affected by dementia.
- Being Mortal – Atul Gawande. This respected physician faces the reluctance he and other doctors have when presenting bad news to seriously ill patients. He honestly discusses the difficulty of making treatment decisions for family members, and how we all can do a better job of minimizing unnecessary pain and suffering during a person’s last days.
- The Best Care Possible – Ira Byock. This could be considered a companion book to #2. Writing from his perspective as a psychologist and a medical doctor, the author examines the attitudes and beliefs that drive end-of-life situations and the complexities of making treatment decision for those we love. These two books should be mandatory reading for anyone named as Healthcare Proxy/Power of Attorney.
- Being my Mom’s Mom - Loretta Anne Woodward Veney. The author chronicles her journey of caring for her mom after her dementia diagnosis. She addresses the challenges, but also includes a good dose of the humor and laughter that helped her cope. This is an informative, engaging book.
- A Bittersweet Season - Jane Gross. The author transfers her skills as a NY Times reporter to the task of for caring for her aging mom. She bluntly and honestly addresses paying for it, the considerations and process of choosing a facility, making decisions as the situation worsens, the out-sized role that women play in caregiving, and the necessity to plan ahead.