by Leeza Gibbons, James Huysman and Rosemary DeAngelis Laird
2009 Lachance Publishing
Leeza Gibbons of Entertainment Tonight shares her experience as a caregiver for her mother. She shares this work with very qualified coauthors to encourage, educate and empower the reader to get a handle in the difficult journey of caregiving for a parent who is experiencing a memory loss disorder.
Readers are encouraged as the title states to take care of themselves first and prepare for a marathon rather than a sprint. Since memory loss is the challenge of her mother, this book goes into a detailed explanation of the various aspects of degenerative memory loss and where to find help.
Caring for the caregiver is divided into three sections.
Caring for the Body covers the special strengthening exercises caregivers might need in caring for their loved one. The back, neck and shoulder muscles may be required in transferring, lifting and other physical maneuvers. These exercises are important to help prevent injury to the caregiver.
Eating well, with a good nutritional plan, is critical for the stamina required in caregiving. We have all heard good nutritional advice, this book provides reasons caregivers should pay attention.
Brain fitness and sleep are critical for the stress placed upon the caregiver. Advice is given on keeping the brain sharp, relaxing the brain and finding the sleep to recharge. Special attention is paid to insomnia, its cause and suggested helps.
Caring for the mind focuses on depression and anxiety. The reader learns the signs of depression and anxiety and ways to available to treat the symptoms. Suggestions are made for lifestyle changes and stress management techniques.
The challenge of overcoming denial and guilt so that our attention can be placed on the loved one is addressed.
Anger is another feeling that must be managed. Helpful suggestion on working through anger are given.
Finally, Caring for the Caregiver’s spirit completes the focus of the book. The family is very important to Leeza. Her encouragement to collect memories and save them in journals, scrapbooks, telling and writing stories that should not be forgotten are helpful, not only to the caregiver, but for those not as close to direct caregiving. She supports connecting with the readers spiritual roots to provide meaning for the caregiver’s life. It is the spiritual life that helps us accept the pain of loosing a loved one and finding new meanings in life. Finding those new meanings are called the payoff.