"The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation from Loved One to Caregiver"
by Donna Thomson and Zachary White, PhD.
Personal transformation is usually an experience we actively seek out—not one that hunts us down. Becoming a caregiver is one transformation that comes at us, requiring us to rethink everything we once knew. Everything changes—responsibilities, beliefs, hopes, expectations, and relationships. Caregiving is not just a role reserved for “saints”—eventually, everyone is drafted into the caregiver role. It’s not a role people medically train for; it’s a new type of relationship initiated by a loved one’s need for care. And it’s a role that cannot be quarantined to home because it infuses all aspects of our lives.
Caregivers today find themselves in need of a crash course in new and unfamiliar skills. They must not only care for a loved one, but also access hidden community resources, collaborate with medical professionals, craft new narratives consistent with the changing nature of their care role, coordinate care with family, seek information and peer support using a variety of digital platforms, and negotiate social support—all while attempting to manage conflicts between work, life, and relationship roles. The moments that mark us in the transition from loved one to caregiver matter because if we don’t make sense of how we are being transformed, we risk undervaluing our care experiences, denying our evolving beliefs, becoming trapped by other’s misunderstandings, and feeling underappreciated, burned out, and overwhelmed.
Informed by original caregiver research and proven advocacy strategies, this book speaks to caregiving as it unfolds, in all of its confusion, chaos, and messiness. Readers won’t find well-intentioned clichés or care stereotypes in this book. There are no promises to help caregivers return to a life they knew before caregiving. No, this book greets caregivers where they are in their journey—new or chronic—not where others expect (or want) them to be.
This book is available from Amazon and other booksellers, and at www.unpreparedcaregiver.com
Review by Lawrence Bocchiere III (Chairman of the Board, The Well Spouse Association)
If I could condense my life of caregiving into 212 pages, this book would have been the result. With every page I turned I saw a deeper reflection of our lives. I found mention of items that took me years to learn on my own – as well as information on how and where to find support. From the practical ‘how-to’ to the ephemeral ‘how our lives have changed’ this tome is a guidepost on the inexorable slide into becoming a caregiver. The loss of certainty in our lives affects us all - the inability to ‘plan for the future’ we expected. You will find suggestions on retaining control of your life as you walk these paths. As a former Well Spouse I gained insight into how 17 years of hands-on care changed me – turned me hyper-vigilant and sometimes pessimistic with a loss of patience (especially for what I see as trivial/not life-or-death).
The authors are proponents of peer-support, whether face-to-face or electronic. They expose our ‘hidden’ world of 45,000,000 caregivers to the light of day. A new paradigm they offer is “care-mapping” with patient and caregiver needs charted through ANY AVAILABLE source of assistance. They even advise on practical discussions with providers.
This book is available on Amazon Smile at: https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Journey-Caring-Transformation-Caregiver/dp/1538122235/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548960195&sr=8-1&keywords=the+unexpected+journey+of+caring
I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did!