The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent

Overview

Caring for a parent whose health is in decline turns the world upside down. The emotional fallout can be devastating, but it doesn't have to be that way. Empathic guidance from an expert who's been there can help. Through an account of two sisters and their ailing mother--interwoven with no-nonsense advice--The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers helps family members navigate tough decisions and make the most of their time together as they care for an aging parent. The author urges readers to be honest about ...
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The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent

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Overview

Caring for a parent whose health is in decline turns the world upside down. The emotional fallout can be devastating, but it doesn't have to be that way. Empathic guidance from an expert who's been there can help. Through an account of two sisters and their ailing mother--interwoven with no-nonsense advice--The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers helps family members navigate tough decisions and make the most of their time together as they care for an aging parent. The author urges readers to be honest about the level of commitment they're able to make and emphasizes the need for clear communication within the family. While acknowledging their guilt, stress, and fatigue, he helps caregivers reaffirm emotional connections worn thin by the routine of daily care. This compassionate book will help families everywhere avoid burnout and preserve bonds during one of life's most difficult passages.
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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Susan Richardson, MA, PsyD (Private Practice)
Description: This is a self-help/reference book for people in the position of caring for sick, aging, or dying parents.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to help adults who are caring for aging and/or dying parents understand the depth of the process they are involved in and to recognize the limits they have emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This has been a neglected area that is gaining importance as this country grays and ages.
Audience: This book can be used by anyone caring for a sick or aging parent. It is a good resource for mental health professionals to draw upon as well, as caregiver burnout issues frequently lead to depression and anxiety as well as family conflicts. These issues frequently find caregivers turning to therapy to deepen their resources. The author is a therapist and a journalist who writes about caregiving issues frequently in the National Family Caregivers Association newsletter quarterly.
Features: The book presents the key issues and concepts of caregiving predominantly from the process of a family suddenly having to care for the matriarch. The author provides an insightful and realistic depiction of the type of issues and conflicts that come up within the individual and within the family. He includes the perspective of the aging parent as well. He covers the topic from the first days to the last days of the caregiving, providing meaningful context for the first time caregiver.
Assessment: This is a readable, accessible and useful book that grapples with an emotionally difficult area. It is important for people to understand how to care for themselves during the devastating years of parental decline and this book is well worth reading.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Susan Richardson, MA, PsyD(Private Practice)
Description: This is a self-help/reference book for people in the position of caring for sick, aging, or dying parents.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to help adults who are caring for aging and/or dying parents understand the depth of the process they are involved in and to recognize the limits they have emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This has been a neglected area that is gaining importance as this country grays and ages.
Audience: This book can be used by anyone caring for a sick or aging parent. It is a good resource for mental health professionals to draw upon as well, as caregiver burnout issues frequently lead to depression and anxiety as well as family conflicts. These issues frequently find caregivers turning to therapy to deepen their resources. The author is a therapist and a journalist who writes about caregiving issues frequently in the National Family Caregivers Association newsletter quarterly.
Features: The book presents the key issues and concepts of caregiving predominantly from the process of a family suddenly having to care for the matriarch. The author provides an insightful and realistic depiction of the type of issues and conflicts that come up within the individual and within the family. He includes the perspective of the aging parent as well. He covers the topic from the first days to the last days of the caregiving, providing meaningful context for the first time caregiver.
Assessment: This is a readable, accessible and useful book that grapples with an emotionally difficult area. It is important for people to understand how to care for themselves during the devastating years of parental decline and this book is well worth reading.
Publishers Weekly
For anyone with the responsibility of caring for a sick or disabled parent, this clear-eyed guide will be of real assistance. Jacobs, director of behavioral sciences for the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Pennsylvania, knows firsthand the emotional and financial devastation such illness can cause: his father died of cancer when Jacobs was 13. He illustrates the problems caregivers face through the story of two women (composites of caregivers he has known), middle-aged, married sisters struggling with the cancer of their widowed mother from diagnosis to death. As Jacobs points out, the sisters, their mother and her doctors are not perfect models of resilience and wisdom: rather, they're average people whom readers will be able to identify with and learn from. Through this story, Jacobs explores how to define your commitment to caregiving and recruit relatives as well as professionals to help, along with strategies for preserving your own personal life during an extended illness. Jacobs recommends that family members meet regularly, even online, to negotiate caregiving responsibilities. Jacobs's frankness about the emotional as well as medical traps that await families dealing with serious illness, and his concrete advice on how to handle them, offers in-depth support to caregivers. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Jacobs, who works with couples and families coping with serious health problems, shows readers how to help a seriously ill loved one while taking care to limit the debilitating effects of caregiving on the family. After sharing a poignant, personal account about his own father, Jacobs organizes his wise material around the story of a family that represents a composite of families he has helped in the past: two sisters and their cancer-ridden mother. An introductory chapter offers research findings and clinical anecdotes, and subsequent chapters follow the exemplary family through time as they cope with such things as medical treatments, misunderstandings with the treating professionals, and the vicissitudes of the disease. A collection of questions and answers explores different facets of the caregiving task and offers specific tips and strategies for success. The resources section lists a variety of organizations, publications, and web sites. With the book's focus on various life-threatening diseases, including Alzheimer's, this title nicely supplements Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins's The 36-Hour Day. Highly recommended for university libraries supporting the helping professions and for larger public libraries.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"I’ve known Barry Jacobs for many years, but not until I read the prologue to this book did I realize that as a child he had been part of a caregiving family. I should have known, though--only someone who has 'walked in the shoes' could have written such a compassionate and simultaneously helpful book. It reads like a novel but also provides really good, straightforward, worthwhile advice. This is a 'must read' for every family caregiver."--Suzanne Mintz, President and Cofounder, National Family Caregivers Association

"Dr. Jacobs is a master storyteller who brings the realities of caring for an aging parent out of the shadows and into the light. If you find yourself in a caregiving role and want to protect and even enhance your family relationships, while also taking care of yourself, this book is a 'must read.' From sex to spirituality, Dr Jacobs addresses our most pressing questions about the inevitable stresses and strains of caregiving."--Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, Wynne Center for Family Research and Department of Family Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

"This is a beautifully written, invaluable, practical guide for families facing serious illness or disability. This unique and truly masterful book combines the wisdom of Dr. Jacobs's extensive professional expertise with his moving personal story of parental illness and loss. Following one family’s journey with illness, the book addresses all the tough issues while providing a powerful model for resilience and the personal rewards that can come with caregiving. This superb book is a 'must' for family caregivers and healthcare professionals. I will strongly recommend it to my patients and their families."--John S. Rolland, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago and Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Family Health

"Whether you are an experienced or new family caregiver, you will recognize your dilemmas and challenges--and find valuable advice--in this book. Dr. Jacobs combines the skills of an engaging storyteller and a compassionate family therapist as he accompanies readers through the main journey and the byways of caring for an ill or disabled parent."--Carol Levine, Director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund
 

"This book has been extremely helpful as a required text in the master's-level family therapy course I am currently teaching. Dr. Jacobs helps the reader understand the impact of caregiving on family dynamics, offering sound, practical advice that is as useful for students and practitioners as it is for family caregivers themselves."--Mia Solomon, PhD, Director, Behavioral Sciences, Bryn Mawr Family Practice Residency Program

The Family Journal

"A poignant book that elucidates with sensitivity the calamitous effects of caring for a loved one and experiencing the many losses associated with this responsibility. Anyone can benefit from the information provided by the author as we all experience loss at times in our lives....The purpose of this book is to assist family members, in particular grown children of ailing, aging parents, and others, in identifying and following through with commitments in a way that eschews creating more family problems. It is also an excellent resource for counselors and other mental health providers to use in their practices....Jacobs's contribution to existing literature is exceptional because of his attention to emotional and informative details....His personal awareness of the topic, authentic writing style, and organization of the book make it interesting and informative."--The Family Journal
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

"Jacobs draws from his own personal background and from his vast clinical experience as a psychologist and medical family therapist working in rehabilitation medicine and primary care to give us a book that is much more than another volume of 'how to' advice....A text that could easily be used in family therapy and other training settings to better understand the intricacies of family dynamics and illness....Not only is this an excellent book for caregivers, but it is also a book that should be on the shelf of every family therapist interested in family process and illness."--Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
The Family Psychologist

"Even if you have read one thousand books on caregiving or coping with parents, you should buy this book....It is a 'must read' for family psychologists because it is chock full of wise and practical advice for anyone with seriously ill, aging parents (or for anyone who has clients with seriously ill, aging parents). Moreover, this book stands apart from other volumes on caregiving in several important ways....Reads more like an engrossing novel than a self-help book about caregiving....The book is remarkably wide ranging in scope so that there is bound to be more than one topic or subtopic of interest to most family psychologists....This is an important and much needed book....This book will help professional and nonprofessional caregivers alike."--The Family Psychologist
Newsday

"Jacobs has a gripping writing style and a passion for the subject that sustain the reader during even the heaviest of topics. His use of the narrative makes the book easy to follow, while creating natural places to interject advice from his extensive knowledge about the stresses of caregiving. He addresses the touchy subjects that caregivers might be ashamed or afraid to ask about, reassuring them that feelings of resentment, guilt, and isolation are normal reactions that go with the territory of caregiving."--Newsday
Family Caregiver Alliance Update

"Guidelines, advice, and questions for the reader are interspersed with the narrative. This insightful book is an important guide for any family trying to care for a loved one."--Family Caregiver Alliance Update
eNN: Eldercare Network News

"His Q&A approach...is perceptive without being intrusive, instructive without being dogmatic, informative without being technical, compassionate without being maudlin and focuses on problem solving without being cookie-cutter in approach."--eNN: Eldercare Network News
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572307292
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 261
  • Sales rank: 389,225
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Barry J. Jacobs, PsyD, works with couples and families coping with serious health problems. He has faculty appointments at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Widener University, and is the Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pennsylvania. He is also a widely published journalist who has written extensively for The Village Voice and other publications. Currently, he writes an advice column for Take Care!, the quarterly newsletter of the National Family Caregivers Association, and edits the "In Sickness & Health" column for the journal Families, Systems & Health. He lives with his wife and their two children in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
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Table of Contents

1 First days 9
2 Defining commitments 29
3 Utilizing support 55
4 Handling sacrifice 79
5 Weighing hope and acceptance, fantasy and reality 105
6 Fostering awareness and flexibility 127
7 Protecting intimacy 52
8 Sustaining the spirit 176
9 Last days 199
Epilogue : caregiving's aftermath 233
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