The Caregiving Wife's Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband, Caring for Yourselfby Diana B. Denholm
A month after proposing marriage, Diana Denholm's husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and later congestive heart failure. Following a heart transplant several of her husband's body systems began failing forcing Diana to become his primary caregiver for more than a decade. The Caregiving Wife's Handbook is a step-by-step communication guide to help women maintain emotional, physical and financial health in their unique role as caregivers to their dying husbands.
Women are suffering physical, emotional and financial burnout as the United States' leading caregivers. Of the 65 million caregivers in the U.S., 66% are women, and these numbers will only increase as the population ages. And while statistics and resources abound for caregivers in general, very little exists for women in their unique role as caregivers to their dying husbands.
Traditionally, caring for a dying husband has been seen as a "wifely duty." Most wives don't label themselves, and aren't labeled by others, as caregivers. But advances in medical technology are making this distinction an imperative since women are under more stress as caregivers than at any other time in history. Although there are generic similarities in caretaking, caregiving for a dying husband is distinctly different, and the longer the dying process, the more complex the problems.
When a husband is in the process of dying for many months or years the experience is quite different than a husband's sudden death. On top of dealing with the tragedy, the wife must figure out how to make life work. Sometimes a woman is married to the love of her life and sometimes not. Some marriages strengthen, while others disintegrate. Some women are in abusive relationships and find the abuse continues, and even increases, during these times, while others find, much to their surprise, that they become the abusers. Still some will start or increase substance abuse and others will have affairs to get by.
The Caregiving Wife's Handbook aims to help women get through their husbands' illness and death with compassion, emotionally whole and without regret by helping them communicate clearly - and in steps - about issues affecting this unique caregiving relationship.
Without specific direction, many women find themselves over the top with stress as their lives change radically. As a board certified medical psychotherapist and primary caregiver, Diana Denholm recognized the need for a step-by-step process to help women communicate with their husbands to avoid irreparable damage and regret.
In The Caregiving Wife's Handbook, you will learn:
To ask questions you may not realize you need to ask
The issues that bother you and a method for categorizing them
What you should and shouldn't discuss with your husband
How to make and prepare for a date to talk about difficult topics
What to do if your husband won't talk
To create "understandings" with your husband
How to deal with his family
You will also learn survival tips from the case histories of Joyce, Fran, Tina, Jean, Susan, and Mary. Their experiences will help you:
Choose roles you should take and those you should avoid
Understand what is "normal" in what you're experiencing and feeling
Take care of yourself so you can survive and even have fun
Implement do's and avoid dont's to make your life simpler
Balance with greater ease
Other topics addressed are:
Current and future finances
The challenges of this time are endless and extreme and the reality often isn't the beautiful and revered journey often portrayed. When a husband is dying of a long-term illness, the gift of time can allow us to prepare and say all the loving things we need to say, but it can also provide a lot of time for severe stressors and problems to develop. These problems and stressors can be debilitating for the caregiver and provide too many opportunities to say and do things we might regret. The Caregiving Wife's Handbook will give you the tools and support needed to get through your husbands' illness and death with compassion, emotionally whole and without regret.
Let The Caregiving Wife's Handbook support you amidst the grief-all the way through the Final Chapter.
- Turner Publishing Company
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Meet the Author
Diana Denholm, PhD, LMHC, holds a doctorate in psychology and became a board certified medical psychotherapist following her doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut. She has been a practicing therapist for over thirty years and while working with clients originated and developed the methods taught in this book. Diana has been a pioneer in converting esoteric methods into practical and easily understood tools. She has successfully used these methods in her work with her many clients and for herself as the primary caregiver during the 11 1/2 years of her late-husband's illness. Diana lives in West Palm Beach, FL.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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this is a no nonsense, caring, easy to read guide for the wife who is about to burnout or run away .reminds me to take care of myself.
This book was so basic; a waste for anyone who has had any experience in communicating with people. The sample dialogues given were condescending. This material was in all the "self-help" books that came out in the 80's and 90's. There was also nothing in there that applied to a caregiver who is dealing with Alzheimer's. OK if you have read nothing else about how to communicate with people in general.
This book should be in eBook version. Then a caregiver will always have it with her! This book is excellent because because the author gets into the nitty gritty of how to speak and exchange views with the care receiver. I found the conversational dialogues very useful. Also the reasons behind the conversational suggestions. The author is a trained professional and she also had the experience of caregiving herself. This book is well worth reading if you are the primary caregiver.
This book is a Godsend. It is absolutely the best book of it's kind that i've found, and i've read quite a few. It felt like someone looked into my soul and wrote down what i was thinking and feeling. Thank you to Diana Denholm for the thousands of people she must have helped by writing this insightful and thoughtful book. Karen Richardson