As Americans live longer and the population ages, more and more people are facing the prospect of caring for their parents. Happily, more and more options are available and these options are explained in some great new books. The following are a few of the latest and best.
For a thorough, well-planned introduction to all the aspects of aging parents, Caring for your parents: the complete AARP guide by Hugh Delehanty & Elinor Ginzler is hard to beat. Each chapter has a resource guide with books, websites, and more. Chapter divisions cover medicare, the body, the brain, money, living arrangements and more. This book tends toward more practical considerations but still includes many inspirational stories and quotes. It is a great starting point, after which people can choose other books more detailed on a particular aspect.
Most of us have had strained relationships with a parent during some period over the years--some so extreme that they really don't want to deal with that parent, until it turns out there simply is no one else. Roberta Satow's excellent book, Doing the right thing: caring for your elderly parents, even if they didn't take care of you, will provide the emotional help needed,as well as thorough illustrations and advice, to survive the difficult decisions and emotions that arise for anyone, but especially for those with a past history of bad times. This book is not an easy read, but one highly recommended for those anticipating or immersed in such a situation.
Professional estate liquidator Julie Hall takes on another of the burgeoning problems that make up eldercare. In The boomer burden: dealing with your parents' lifetime accumulation of stuff, Hall gives extensive checklists, advice and solutions, including a chapter called "Scammers, schemers and other scoundrels." Her opening case history will be enough to motivate anyone, to avoid the horrors described within. Do your family a huge favor and read this book.
Usually the table of contents is one of the last things a reader looks at. In the case of An insider's guide to better nursing home care: 75 tips you should know by Donna M. Reed, the table is an education all by itself. Reed, an LPN and attorney who has worked in numerous nursing facilities, includes "You should know" tips in the table of contents. Among these are "You should know your parent's bath schedule;" and "You should know if the facility allows 16 hour shifts;" and "You should know that a wound specialist may be available." This book is an invaluable help to worried family members--the ins and outs of nursing facilities are clearly and specifically explained and solutions are suggested. It is reassuring to see how much influence we can have on the quality of life of our family. Don't miss this book if nursing home care is among the possibilities you are considering.
The 36-hour day: a family guide to caring for people with Alzheimer disease, other dementias, and memory loss in later life by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins has gone into multiple editions and is still a bestseller. This reassuring and enormously helpful book gives detailed instructions for everyday, common problems in the lives of those dealing with all sorts of difficulties among the aged. Some discussions will be revelations on behavior that had seemed contrary or combative but was simply confusion or language problems. This book should be on every caregiver's shelf for frequent consultation.
There are many more books available, many equally good--don't hesitate to stop in at your library and ask. The help is such a relief.