Staff Pick – A Caregiver’s Survival Guide

EllenWebEach week the blog will feature a favorite book of a staff member that’s available on WORDsearch.

“At least she still knows me and the names of her grand-kids, but I don’t know for how much longer. She’s declining rapidly and can’t be left alone any longer. I’m weary of her asking the same question over and over and over and embarrassed by her unfiltered outbursts when we’re out in public.”

“After her multiple-organ transplant I thought she’d regain her strength and be back to her old self. But they don’t tell you that the new organs don’t fix the damage the diabetes has already done to the rest of her system. Her pain is extreme and unrelenting and I’m torn between wanting to take care of her and wishing that God would take her home where her pain would end.”

My heart grieves with my friends as they struggle to meet the needs of their loved ones while bearing up under the emotional and physical load. How do we take care of a loved one while at the same time survive emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually ourselves?

What a blessing to recently encounter Kay Marshall Strom’s A Caregiver’s Survival Guide. After twenty-five years of marriage, Kay’s husband, Larry, developed chorea-acanthocytosis, an extremely rare genetic condition. The prognosis: profound physical deterioration, increasing dementia, relentless progression, untreatable, incurable, fatal… Her husband was no longer the man she married — he lashed out violently, he reverted to the mind of a child — and he needed constant care.

While this guide is riveting as it tells Kay’s caregiving journey, the insights and tools it provides are invaluable for any caregiver. Drawing from her experience, Kay offers anecdotal illustrations, sidebars, resource lists, checklists and biblical guidance for handling the challenges that come with caring for another. Kay’s “lifetime of lessons” include:

  • How do I handle the stress?
  • How do I respond to those “practicing medicine without a license” or encouraging words that aren’t encouraging?
  • How do I handle my crushing emotions — fear, blame, frustration, depression, resentment, anger, loneliness?
  • How should I pray?
  • What about the rest of the family?
  • Who do I lean on?
  • What about when home is no longer possible?
  • How do I protect our finances?
  • How do I find the blessings?
  • How do I deal with loss? And go on living?
  • Where do I turn for help?

If you are in the throes of caregiving or facing its inevitable future, A Caregiver’s Survival Guide provides abundant encouragement, understanding and practical support. As Kay mentions, “Caregiving is a journey that should not—and need not—be made alone.” May you experience her heart and God’s embrace as you begin (or continue) your journey.

Ellen Gerhard is a WORDsearch e-book developer who resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She shares a home with her 87-year old mother in anticipation of caregiving needs. However, Mom is healthy, vibrant and skipping along. Praise God.

Download A Caregiver’s Survival Guide, usually $11.95, for $4.95 here.

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