A compact resource that addresses the typical concerns of those who care for the elderly.
Edwards (Flip Flap Floodle, 2004) draws on 14 years of personal experience caring for her aged mother, plus additional research, to provide a survey of issues that affect people thrust into similar roles. She poses questions and discusses the factors that affect what level of care an elder needs. However, when she tackles the subject of assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities, it highlights the inherent challenge of writing this type of book. Regulation of such facilities varies from state to state, limiting how detailed and specific such advice can be, and there’s similar variation regarding medical care, insurance, wills, probate, and other, related matters. Edwards plows many furrows, most not very deeply. Twenty-one brief chapters span the logistical, medical, financial, legal, interpersonal, social, emotional, and spiritual issues that arise when one adult becomes responsible for another. Sometimes they cover subjects in only one sentence: “Support Groups: People join support groups to share experiences and common concerns, learn coping skills, and to give each other emotional support and comfort.” As a result, this is really a book of lists with some items expounded upon a bit more fully. Edwards offers readers dozens of sources for additional reading and provides endnotes; an appendix includes charts and forms to log information regarding schedules and medications. Overall, the book is strongest when the author shares tips from her own experience providing in-home care and when discussing communication—between the caregiver and elder, with health providers, and with substitute caregivers. In these moments, she effectively shares practical methods and systems that worked for her. The prose is conversational in tone, breezy at times, but clear throughout; readers who have already used hospice care, for example, will find her descriptions spot-on. She approaches every discussion, from relationships to religion, in an inclusive, nonjudgmental manner, and her hard-earned empathy shines through.
A quick, accessible introduction for new caregivers.