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Friday, 28 October 2011

COULD YOU BE A CAREGIVER?

Today I'd like to welcome guest blogger, Rick Lauber author of Caregiver's Guide for Canadians.

Welcome, Rick. Please tell us why you chose to write this book.


Do you know someone who is aging? We are all growing older and this is becoming an issue of national importance. Currently, one in five Canadians helps look after the needs of an aging parent/friend/spouse (source – 2006 Canadian census); with our country’s aging baby boomers, this number is expected to skyrocket.

As parents, friends and/or partners age and their health declines, other relatives/loved ones are left scrambling to find and provide appropriate care. Unless these people have been fortunate enough to work in the health-care field, they often lack the necessary skills, attitudes and experience to adequately help.

I know of these issues well through having served as a family caregiver – not once, but twice – for both of my aging parents. Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia; Dad had Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to being diagnosed, both my parents were the pictures of good health; therefore, I was not expecting either of them to be diagnosed with these serious health conditions, nor was I prepared to serve as a caregiver.

My new-found caregiving roles included helping them move, shuttling them to and from doctor’s appointments, handling their banking, picking up medications from the pharmacy and serving as my father’s Joint Guardian and Alternate Trustee. As a caregiver, I suffered from a sense of imbalance, stress and myriad emotions including anger, frustration and grief. I found that taking a temporary break from my caregiving responsibilities became absolutely vital to manage my own health and well-being; simple, cost-effective means of “escaping” from caregiving include going for a walk, reading and socializing with friends. While caregivers typically focus their time and attention entirely towards a loved one, they cannot overlook their own health and well-being. If I became sick and could not effectively manage, who would care for my parents?

One of my most effective means of coping, over all, was by writing. Journaling my thoughts and frustrations proved to be very therapeutic. First, I wrote only silent feelings, followed by numerous newspaper and magazine articles and finally a complete guidebook entitled “Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians” (published by Self-Counsel Press). The book is a wonderful resource for individuals expecting or currently providing care for a loved one (whether an aging parent/friend/spouse). Sample chapters include “Caregiving from a Distance”, “Searching for Long-Term Care for Your Parent”, “Dealing with Changing Family Dynamics” and “Finding Joy in Caregiving”.

Since its publication (September, 2010), the book has garnered some impressive media interest. I have been interviewed for newspaper articles, radio talk shows and television news broadcasts. I have also spoken to groups and visited numerous bookstores for scheduled signings … I have found that these personal appearances work exceptionally well to create awareness. With the number of caregiving stories I have heard, I am truly convinced that caregivers need an outlet to talk about their own experiences.

As the author, I am humbled with the attention but pleased that I can, even in some small way, help both prospective and current caregivers.

“Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians” is available at national Chapter’s bookstores as well as on-line at
Self Council
Amazon

Rick Lauber
Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians
Rick's Blog
Twitter


Reviews:
A superbly-written and well-documented book that guides the reader through typical eldercare issues provided by professional and private caregivers.

Read the book!! The experiences written about will make you want to fill out the sample forms in the last section of the book for all possible situations. There are also aids and resources listed. Wish I had had those lists when I was first a caregiver!!

A wonderful, concise, and practical book. While the subject of caregiving is a difficult one, Lauber approaches it in a way that a mentor, or wise uncle would...caring, yet firm, and full of useful tidbits and resources.




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