CARING FOR THE CAREGIVER

As most of you know, I cared for my mom during the last few months of her illness. During that time, in addition to my emotional concerns I still had to assist in making sound decisions for her medical care. A major part of that meant knowing about her illness and knowing the right questions to ask. Although I do love to research, when it came to her illness, I did it but hated it. However, when you have a loved one who is ill you need to have someone be there advocate. The only one who can be sure papers get signed, test results get faxed to the specialist, and that the hospital respects the patient’s wishes to not have a certain test or procedure, falls to the caregiver.

I have a wonderful friend, Joan Edwards whom I met through Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Carolinas. Her previous book, FLIP FLAP FLOODLE, and her work in progress, LARRY THE TERRIFYING TURKEY are children’s books.

However, I recently read her latest book, JOAN”S ELDER CARE GUIDE (4RV publishing April 2016). Joan’s book would have been so helpful to me when my mom was ill. JOAN’S ELDER CARE GUIDE is more than a wonderful reference compendium, it supplies inspiration. Joan wrote this book after 14 years of taking care of her own mother, Ethel.joancover

The very first sentence of her book says it all “The purpose of this book is to empower you and your elder to be happy while you care for her at home, in a hospital, or in a living facility.”

Joan’s book isn’t just about caring for your loved one, but also for the one taking care of the elderly person. Being a caregiver herself, she realized that a caregiver is the one less likely to focus on themselves and push through the situation at hand. I bet many of you are nodding your head in agreement.

The caregiver also can be plagued with questions that replay in their head such as: “Did I do the right thing? What will I do as her illness progresses?“ Or, “Should I have been able to prevent the horrible day my sick loved one had?” Having been in that situation myself, her advice brought consolation: “Love and accept yourself as you are right at this moment. Accept that even with the best planning in the world, unwanted experiences can happen again.”

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Joan has been the voice of inspiration for so many of us in SCBWI, during our writing journey. In fact, I wouldn’t have my blog without her guidance. Joan is a retired elementary school teacher. She has given numerous presentations at our SCBWI Carolinas conferences as well as other writing conferences. Now she can inspire and educate caregivers.

Joan gives practical solutions and appendices with charts that can be used when you take your loved one to the doctors or to leave detailed plans for other caregivers for respite care- so you can recharge. As well as for assessing and recording the elder’s needs and capabilities.

Knowledge gives you power. Joan gives a list of questions such as: “Why is she taking these medications? Are there side effects? Will insurance cover them?” There are times in the doctor’s office that if I didn’t have questions written out ahead of time, I would forget to ask.

What I also loved about this book was that she made sure that you keep the reactions and concerns that your loved one has in the forefront. They physically may rely on you and may even want you to make their medical decisions, but they still have a right to understand the care plan or express their concerns.

Sometimes a caregiver can be so wrapped up in making sure their loved one’s needs are met physically one can forget to include them in the discussions. She reminds readers to take moments to just be with each other, laugh with each other—it energizes both the patient and the caregiver. Joan used her personal examples such as how she used to sing childhood songs with her mother to calm her, as well as herself.

The last few chapters deal with hospice, end of life, and ways to celebrate the elder’s life. She discusses these delicate yet critical issues. Joan not only gives the reader valuable information, but comfort as well.

Because I had a background in health care administration, when my mom was ill, I knew what to look for, how to deal with physicians, and insurance companies on my mother’s behalf. Having been through this situation, and then reading JOAN’S ELDER CARE GUIDE, I knew that Joan took great care and diligence in her research. Joan leads you to resources, as well as ways to improve communication, and solutions to difficult challenges involving medical, financial, and legal documents. Her end notes also supply you with an additional bevy of resources.

But to me, what stood out the most from the cover (which is taken from pictures of her mother) to the last chapter of JOAN’S ELDER CARE GUIDE, she wrote from her heart as a caregiver and a loving daughter. ❤

Below are a few questions I asked Joan as well as how to reach out to her &  where to purchase JOAN’S ELDER CARE GUIDE:

  1. Could you tell me what was the most difficult aspect in writing Joan’s Elder Care Guide?
    The most difficult aspect in writing Joan’s Elder Care Guide was making sure I didn’t repeat things. Some items are appropriate for many chapters.
  2. Did you propose the idea for this book to your publishing company or did you have a manuscript you submitted to them first? I wrote the manuscript and then submitted it to 4RV Publishing.

  3. Did you find writing Joan’s Elder Care Guide cathartic in dealing with grief after your mother passed away? Each time I found a resource to help caregivers be more informed and better able to meet their needs and their elders, I smiled. When I retold the story about the ending of Mother’s life, it was cathartic. I cried. I still cry every once in a while. Crying is healing. It helps you level out your emotions that have built up inside. I explained the steps to give peace to others when that time comes for their loved ones. To me, it’s amazing how God placed people and circumstances in my life to help me care for Mother. I’ve seen him do that for others who are caring for their loved ones, too.

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You can purchase JOAN”S ELDER CARE GUIDE at:
http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/joan-y-edwards.php
http://www.amazon.com/Joans-Elder-Care-Guide-Empowering/dp/1940310407/
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/joans-elder-care-guide-joan-y-edwards/1123707963?ean=9781940310398

Official Video for JOAN’S ELDER CARE GUIDE:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMauKAqqQ4 Joan’s Elder Care Guide

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