A guide salutes the unsung hero status of caregivers.
There are over 43 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, more than 34 million of whom have provided assistance to an adult age 50 or older, according to statistics cited by Chillis (Misery at Work?, 2015, etc.). The author looked after her husband full-time for three years, and she is currently a certified caregiver consultant; as such, she deeply understands the highs and lows of a role that can be both challenging and rewarding. When Chillis kept seeing “heart-wrenching, negative feelings” expressed by caregivers, she decided to write a book about the care that they needed to give themselves. The compassionate manual begins by highlighting some myths and truths about the role, but most of the content surrounds seven “secrets” designed to help caregivers maintain an upbeat outlook. The first “secret,” for example, provides an excellent overview of different emotions, such as guilt, resentment, and grief. The author defines each one, discusses why it matters, uses examples to show its effect, and presents coping techniques. Another “secret” concentrates on how to resolve conflict within the family, delivering useful tips and urging mediation when all else fails. The final secret appropriately addresses the complex feelings of the caregiver after the loved one is gone. The work covers a broad range of topics within the secrets, focusing on physical, mental, and emotional health issues. Each of the secrets contains illustrative anecdotes involving caregivers, along with “tools” and “tip sheets” to assist in implementing strategies, all of which are simple yet powerful. The book is written in easy-to-follow language with lots of subheads, short sections, itemized lists, and “key takeaways” in each chapter. One of the more important elements is the heavy reliance on the stories of caregivers—sure to furnish readers the comforting sense that they are not alone in facing the various problems. Throughout the volume, Chillis adopts a positive, encouraging tone, recognizing that the caregiver may be emotionally frayed and in need of gentle coaching and guidance.
Thoughtful and enlightening; sure to be a calming and reassuring resource for caregivers.