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Selected Books for Family Caregivers

Aging Today, November/December 2005 | Go to article overview

Selected Books for Family Caregivers


Books on family caregiving, from how-to manuals to social-policy essays, have increased in recent years from a constant trickle to a babbling creek. Perhaps it will take a river of them to change eldercare for the better in the United States, but the current flow is encouraging. Following is a selection of recent titles.

How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris (New York City: Workman Publishing, 2004); paperback, 691 pages.

This revised and updated version of Virginia Morns' 1996 edition is a veritable encyclopedia of eldercare. The book's 27 chapters offer a one-stop guide for addressing medical, financial, legal and psychological aspects of family caregiving in practical terms. The chapters, designed in an easy-to-read two-column format with much information, typeset in digestible boxes and straightforward charts, are organized around caregivers ' frequent questions or common concerns. For example, the chapter titled "Your Parent and You" includes sections headed "Knowing When to Intervene" and "Defusing Old Struggles," among others. Some subheadings are posed as questions, such as, "Is It Time to Move?" and, in the chapter on the aging brain, "What Is Normal?"

How to Care for Aging Parents concludes with "The Yellow Pages of Help," almost 100 pages of appendices, such as a list of state Medicaid offices, the "Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights" and a discussion of funeral options and costs.

Caregiving at Home by William Leahy and the editors of Hartman Publishing (Albuquerque, N.M.: Hartman Publishing, 2005); paperback, 260 pages.

William Leahy, a physician who has focused on home-health aide education, worked with Hartman to create a manual for family caregivers using the same well-designed instructional materials the publisher has provided over the years for frontline workers. The 14 chapters cover such concerns as setting up the home with an understanding of safety and body mechanics, preventing infection, providing personal care, and assisting transfers and ambulation. Each chapter opens with a "First Steps" introduction and is color-tabbed along the edges to simplify locating information. Care guidelines for 33 common problems include prompts caregivers can learn for reporting subtle changes in the care recipient's status to healthcare professionals.

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