According to the National Family Caregivers Association, there are more than 50 million family caregivers in the United States right now. Among these are parents, children, siblings, spouses, and partners — anyone who helps take care of a friend or relative who needs assistance with personal or medical care.
The range of tasks performed by caregivers is broad and depends on both the needs of the person receiving care and the caregiver’s ability to deliver what is needed. When providing care for a person with diabetes, a caregiver might perform the sorts of tasks that people with diabetes usually do for themselves, such as monitoring blood glucose levels, making sure that medicines are taken on time, giving insulin injections, and preparing healthy meals.
Caregivers have, of course, been around for centuries, but only in the last 30 years has there been an organized effort to recognize and support them. As a result, caregivers now have many possible sources of instruction and aid — including emotional support, often through connections with other caregivers. The following resources offer a variety of tools to address caregiving needs.
AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION GUIDE TO HOME CAREGIVING
New York, 2001
This book is a comprehensive manual covering issues related to caregiving, including caregiver skills, home preparation, and choosing an outside care provider. It is written in a straightforward, informational style.
CAREGIVING: THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF LOVE, LOSS, AND RENEWAL
Beth Witrogen McLeod
New York, 1999
This Pulitzer Prize–nominated book offers general advice and presents different approaches to caring, using real-life caregiving experiences to illustrate points throughout. It also deals with practical concerns such as navigating the health-care system and alleviating caregiver stress.
CARING FOR YOUR PARENTS: THE COMPLETE FAMILY GUIDE
Hugh Delehanty and Elinor Ginzler
New York, 2008
Published in conjunction with AARP, this book aims to provide a practical road map for anyone with elderly parents. Topics range from making homes more elder-friendly to dealing with siblings who don’t contribute to care. Each chapter of the book has a list of Web sites and organizations related to the chapter’s topic.
ELDERCARE FOR DUMMIES
Rachelle Zukerman, PhD
New York, 2003
This book brings the familiar approach of the popular Dummies series to the topic of caregiving. It is organized for easy reference and covers almost every aspect of the topic imaginable, including medical devices, spirituality, and dealing with forgetfulness, anxiety, or depression in the care recipient.
THE ELDERCARE HANDBOOK
Stella Mora Henry, RN
New York, 2006
The author of this book is a longtime nurse and a nursing home administrator who helped care for her parents, both of whom had Alzheimer disease. The book deals with the emotional aspects of caregiving as well as practical concerns such as insurance and legal matters. It also addresses how to decide whether a long-term care facility is the best option for a loved one and, if so, how to successfully make that adjustment.
Today’s Caregiver magazine and its companion Web site, Caregiver.com, provide articles on a variety of topics as well as recipes, personal stories, and information on support groups and other resources. The Web site has a state-by-state guide to resources, as well as audio interviews with authors and notable people involved in caregiving. An annual subscription to the magazine (six issues) costs $18.