When we find ourselves in a new and challenging situation, many of us turn to the experiences of others for guidance. Or at least we should—shouldering a responsibility like caregiving solo can be a lonely and sometimes impossible journey.
A good book can help me find the answers I’m looking for. Whether it’s a book about new ideas in business or a novel about living with Alzheimer’s disease or cancer in the family, I’m always so thankful that writers have taken the time to share their knowledge and experience so that I can grow.
With that in mind, here are 15 great caregiver books I hope might help you if you’ve found yourself in a new caregiving situation. Whether you’re spending more time helping Mom or Dad with general chores, taking care of a spouse who is battling an illness, or supporting another loved one who needs a helping hand, I think one of these caregiver books will speak to your situation.
(Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!)
“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”
By Roz Chast, Cartoonist, The New Yorker
Synopsis: “The themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.” (Source: Amazon)
More information on this visual caregiver book is available on The New Yorker website.
“Caring for Your Parents: The Complete Family Guide (AARP)”
By Hugh Delehanty, former Sports Illustrated editor and is editor in chief of AARP Media Properties
Synopsis: “Based on a 32-page National Magazine Award-nominated special feature, “Caring for Your Parents” documents the innovative ways that real people cope with this age-old issue. Throughout the book you will find useful, field-tested recommendations from AARP’s staff of experts. Topics explored in depth run the gamut from locating quality health care and dealing with the bureaucracy of Medicare to avoiding consumer scams, organizing caregiving from afar, and planning the disposition of an estate.” (Source: Amazon)
More information on this great caregiver book is available on the AARP website.
By Lisa Genova, neuroscientist and author
Fun Fact: Julianne Moore won the 2014 Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in the film adaptation of “Still Alice.”
Synopsis: “Alice Howland is proud of the life she has worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. When Alice begins to grow forgetful at first she just dismisses it, but when she gets lost in her own neighborhood she realizes that something is terribly wrong. Alice finds herself in the rapid downward spiral of Alzheimer’s disease. She is only 50 years old.” (Source: lisagenova.com)
More info available on Amazon.
“The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook (Revised): Caring for Your Aging Parents Without Losing Yourself”
By Alexis Abramson, PhD
Synopsis: “In this supportive, reassuring, and practical guide, Doctor Alexis addresses the most pressing concerns, including such issues as how to:
• Get all family members to pitch in
• Let go of feelings of guilt
• Avoid conflict with an aging loved one
• Foster independence in the elderly
• Balance the demands on one’s own time and resources”
“No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days”
By Susan Allen Toth, Writer, The New York Times, Washington Post, Harper’s, and Vogue
Synopsis: “Wrenching, occasionally peevish, at times darkly funny, and always deeply felt, Toth’s intimate, unsparing account reflects the realities of seeing a loved one out of life: the critical support of some friends and the disappearance of others; the elasticity of time, infinitely slow and yet in such short supply; the sheer physicality of James’s decline and the author’s own loneliness; the practical challenges—the right food, the right wheelchair, the right hospital bed—all intricately interlocking parts of the act of loving and caring for someone who in so many ways is fading away.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available on AlexisBramson.com.
“A Gradual Disappearance”
By Elizabeth Lonseth, interior designer and business owner
Synopsis: “Lonseth shares her personal stories of dealing with loved ones with memory loss disease. She gives us page after page of practical advice, wisdom, and grace from someone who has experienced not one, not two, but all four of her parents developing dementia as they grew older. Her insights and personal stories are touching and relatable; it is a must read for anyone coping with a family member with dementia.” (Source: Amazon)
Find more info on ElizabethLonsethNovels.com.
“They’re Your Parents Too”
By Francine Russo, journalist and Baby Boomer expert for TIME and other magazines and journals
Source: “The first book to offer siblings a psychological and practical roadmap through this life-changing family transition. Filled with engaging, helpful stories of sisters and brothers with struggles like yours–whether you are the family caregiver or not.” (Source: Amazon)
Learn more about this caregiver book on the They’re Your Parents Too book website.
“Slow Dancing with a Stranger”
By Meryl Comer, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative
Synopsis: “Meryl Comer writes about her husband’s battle with cancer. She uses personal experience, whether or not it was a success or failure, to explain this disease.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available on MerylComer.com.
“Always My Grandpa: A Story for Children About Alzheimer’s Disease”
Linda Scacco, Ph.D., Unitarian Universalist Curriculum and Resource Developers
Synopsis: “This is a fictional story about a little boy named Daniel and his mom, who spend every summer with his grandpa. Daniel learns his grandpa has Alzheimer’s, and the book shows how this disease affects children and their families.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available on FictionDB.com.
“The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: What You Need to Know—and What You Can Do—about Memory Problems, from Prevention to Early Intervention and Care”
By P. Murali Doraiswamy, Lisa P. Gwyther and Tina Adler, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Synopsis: “This book answers any questions you could have about Alzheimer’s. Tests to determine if it is Alzheimer’s, most effective medical treatments, and coping with effects are all areas addressed by experts in the field.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available on Duke.edu.
“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey”
By Walter Mosley
Synopsis: “Ptolmey Grey is a 91 year old man who is marooned in his apartment that is overflowed with momentos from the past. This fictional tale deals with the unexpected twists and turns that come at the end of people’s lives.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available on WalterMosley.com.
“CAREGIVING Ready or Not”
By Charles Puchta
Synopsis: “This book cuts through the clutter and confusion and offers clear and unbiased information and insight to help caregivers and care receivers make informed decisions. Throughout the book, I provide practical knowledge, tools and tips that you and your family can immediately begin applying. I also offer thought-provoking and actionable perspectives to help you along your journey ahead Ready or Not.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available on CharlesPuchta.com.
“Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents Even if They Didn’t Take Care of You”
By Roberta Satow, Ph. D.
Synopsis: “Not every parent-child relationship is ideal, and the fact is, many of us will have to face the prospect of caregiving for an aging parent towards whom we might harbor resentment or anger. However, even for those who retain negative memories of childhood, caring for an elderly parent can offer the opportunity to work through – and possibly even leave behind – some of those ongoing issues. This book also offers real-life stories of dealing with emotional conflict in caregiving relationships, exploring how the reader can derive enrichment even from difficult situations.” (Source: bjchospice.org)
More info available on Good Reads.
“A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves”
By Jane Gross, journalist, New York Times and founder of the New Old Age blog
Synopsis: “[Jane Gross] shares her frustrating, heartbreaking, enlightening, and ultimately redemptive journey, providing us along the way with valuable information that she wishes she had known earlier. Wise, smart, and ever-helpful, A Bittersweet Season is an essential guide to caring for aging parents.” (Source: Amazon)
“When the Time Comes: Families with Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions”
By Paula Span
Synopsis: “Span is a journalist, and she interviews a range of families as they struggle through the transitions of caring for aging parents. Many face the difficult decision of whether to care for their parents at home or through assisted living, and all of them are searching for answers to common questions about elder care. The solutions they find may not always be perfect, but they work – and that in itself is one of the book’s important lessons.” (Source: A Place for Mom)
More info available on Amazon.
“Finding Freedom at Home: The Ultimate Guide to Home Care”
By Sam Sellers, owner of Caring Hearts of Little Rock, Arkansas
Synopsis: “Home care for an aging parent is not an alternative to assisted living or nursing home care. To the contrary, Sellers explains that any option other than remaining at home should be viewed as alternatives! Remaining at home is the most desirable option for most people and this book describes how that can not only be possible, but empowering. Finding Freedom at Home will help families who are facing this issue who are often confused about how to navigate the waters of home care.” (Source: Amazon)
More info available at Dignity Enterprises, Inc.
Please note: This list is provided as a resource only and does not indicate an official endorsement from Caring Hearts.