An elder care professional draws on business principles to help women with aging parents.
In this health-and-family book, Bookner (Something about Christmas, 2011) uses her experiences running a home health assistance company and acting as the primary caregiver for an aging mother to provide basic guidance to women in similar situations. She includes some specific advice: use a shredder when disposing of documents, and if an object is moved, leave notes reminding the parent of its new location. However, its primary focus is on establishing mindsets for both caregiver and parent that allow them to enjoy a strong relationship while also managing the challenges surrounding the parent’s health and safety. Bookner uses business practices as analogies for understanding the dynamics of the parent-caregiver relationship, as when she treats caregiving as a form of customer service: “Business owners are always looking for new ways to coddle customers and increase their client base. As a caregiver, the same needs apply.” The book encourages caregivers to view parents as partners, collaborating to ensure that parents’ needs are met. Caregivers, Bookner says, can offer choices and ask questions to reach solutions that will allow everyone to be satisfied. Some analogies are less obvious, such as comparing the completion of a parent’s legal documents to preparation for a major meeting, but they’re effective in helping to establish a framework for a successful caregiving arrangement. Readers who don’t share Bookner’s Southern roots may find the idea of a parent’s nostalgia for white gloves at church or addressing a parent as “ma'am” or “sir” less applicable to their own families. However, the book’s broader recommendations are more generally applicable and can help readers turn a potentially burdensome responsibility into an opportunity for strengthening relationships and personal growth.
A concise but thorough handbook on caregiving.