This comprehensive guide to senior life helps synthesize the ever-evolving body of health tips to lessen stress on adult-children–as–caregivers.
Witnessing the physical and mental decline of one’s parents has led to a growing number of self-help manuals. As life expectancy continues to rise and new medical treatments advance, caring for family members at home has become more convenient, but also more complicated. Arzente, a compassionate, well-informed home-health nurse, wrote this practical guide to cut through the many obstacles caregivers might face. In every chapter she links her straightforward medical and psychological advice to summaries and action checklists, which offer clarity to a confusing subject. She also transcends the clinical tone often found on geriatrics websites by enlivening her medical tips with a range of dramatic but relatable case histories. Most movingly, Arzente explains how her own experience caring for her dying mother instilled in her the desire to help others manage the painful life process. Although many of her tips are already available through other caregiving manuals, Arzente puts her own helpful spin on topics like how to avoid “caregiver burnout” and the importance of cultivating a spiritual outlook. Her suggestion to keep a caregiver’s journal, with detailed layers of therapeutic and personal data, is also sound advice. As with much self-help literature, there are times when she oversimplifies complex psychological processes, as when she suggests readers resort to “tough love” in certain circumstances when witnessing a family member’s decline. Additionally, her advice to “try not to show your frustration” rings empty since little guidance is given in that direction.
A common-sense guide to helping seniors and their caregivers through one of life’s most trying times.