Cruising Through Caregiving (★★★★★)

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Jennifer L. FitzPatrick   *   Greenleaf Book Group Press   *   September 27, 2016   *   344 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy provided by publisher through Net Galley.

Author FitzPatrick is very clear about what she hopes readers will get from this book. Cruising through Caregiving should help you “save money, energy, and time, so that you can have an improved caregiving experience.” And, wow, she really delivers the goods for making that happen.

The book is divided into fifteen chapters. Topics include:

  • Defining the different types of caregivers (primary, secondary, and tertiary)
  • Respecting your older loved one’s autonomy and preferences
  • Recognizing the needs, desires, and limitations of the whole caregiving crew
  • Deciding what type of care is best for your loved one AND his or her caregivers
  • Learning how to take care of yourself while caregiving
  • Recognizing symptoms of burnout, especially when you’ve decided–consciously or not–to become the martyr in the caregiving situation
  • Navigating the senior care system
  • Accepting the financial cost of caregiving
  • Utilizing your loved one’s primary care doctor in the best way–and knowing when you need to see a specialist
  • Taking care of a loved one with dementia
  • Accepting that your older loved one will die
  • Utilizing hospice in the most advantageous way
  • Learning how to set your own self up for a positive experience as you age

Throughout the book, FitzPatrick’s tone is conversational, down-to-earth, and refreshingly straightforward. Her advice is practical and very clearly taken from real life experiences.

What I love most about Cruising through Caregiving, though, is that it is so incredibly affirming to the caregiver. FitzPatrick repeats again and again that your caregiving experience shouldn’t drain everything from you–not money, energy, or time. Taking care of a loved one is an important–and unavoidably stressful–job, but, at the end of the day, she says, “you deserve to come out of the caregiving experience emotionally, physically, and financially healthy.”

There is no shaming or judgment in the book. FitzPatrick talks about all options in an open way, plus she gives specific resources (with working links in the kindle version) that help provide answers and guidance. There is simply a wealth of information in this book, and I learned so much.

I’ll add one last thing. If you are in a situation where you or your older loved one has received a diagnosis for a serious condition, I would also recommend reading Patient’s Playbook. It’s another no-nonsense guide to finding the best care possible.

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